Developmental Evolution in Social Insects: Regulatory Networks from Genes to Societies

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    25 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The evolution and development of complex phenotypes in social insect colonies, such as queen-worker dimorphism or division of labor, can, in our opinion, only be fully understood within an expanded mechanistic framework of Developmental Evolution. Conversely, social insects offer a fertile research area in which fundamental questions of Developmental Evolution can be addressed empirically. We review the concept of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that aims to fully describe the battery of interacting genomic modules that are differentially expressed during the development of individual organisms. We discuss how distinct types of network models have been used to study different levels of biological organization in social insects, from GRNs to social networks. We propose that these hierarchical networks spanning different organizational levels from genes to societies should be integrated and incorporated into full GRN models to elucidate the evolutionary and developmental mechanisms underlying social insect phenotypes. Finally, we discuss prospects and approaches to achieve such an integration.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)159-169
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution
    Volume318
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 2012

    Fingerprint

    social insect
    Gene Regulatory Networks
    social insects
    Insects
    gene
    Insect Genes
    Phenotype
    phenotype
    genes
    insect colonies
    Social Support
    personal development
    polyethism
    social networks
    labor division
    dimorphism
    social network
    queen insects
    Organizations
    genomics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Molecular Medicine
    • Genetics
    • Developmental Biology

    Cite this

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    title = "Developmental Evolution in Social Insects: Regulatory Networks from Genes to Societies",
    abstract = "The evolution and development of complex phenotypes in social insect colonies, such as queen-worker dimorphism or division of labor, can, in our opinion, only be fully understood within an expanded mechanistic framework of Developmental Evolution. Conversely, social insects offer a fertile research area in which fundamental questions of Developmental Evolution can be addressed empirically. We review the concept of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that aims to fully describe the battery of interacting genomic modules that are differentially expressed during the development of individual organisms. We discuss how distinct types of network models have been used to study different levels of biological organization in social insects, from GRNs to social networks. We propose that these hierarchical networks spanning different organizational levels from genes to societies should be integrated and incorporated into full GRN models to elucidate the evolutionary and developmental mechanisms underlying social insect phenotypes. Finally, we discuss prospects and approaches to achieve such an integration.",
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    AU - Linksvayer, Timothy A.

    AU - Fewell, Jennifer

    AU - Gadau, Juergen

    AU - Laubichler, Manfred

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