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Q Rev Biol. 2005 Sep;80(3):317-36.

The evolutionary origin and elaboration of sociality in the aculeate Hymenoptera: maternal effects, sib-social effects, and heterochrony.

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Department of Biology, Indiana University, 1001 East 3rd Street, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA. TLINKSVA@BIO.INDIANA.EDU


We discuss the evolutionary origin and elaboration of sociality using an indirect genetic effects perspective. Indirect genetic effects models simultaneously consider zygotic genes, genes expressed in social partners (especially mothers and siblings), and the interactions between them. Incorporation of these diverse genetic effects should lead to more realistic models of social evolution. We first review haplodiploidy as a factor that promotes the evolution of eusociality. Social insect biologists have doubted the importance of relatedness asymmetry caused by haplodiploidy and focused on other predisposing factors such as maternal care. However; indirect effects theory shows that maternal care evolves more readily in haplodiploids, especially with inbreeding and despite multiple mating. Because extended maternal care is believed to be a precondition for the evolution of eusociality, the evolutionary bias towards maternal care in haplodiploids may result in a further bias towards eusociality in these groups. Next, we compare kin selection and parental manipulation and then briefly review additional hypotheses for the evolutionary origin of eusociality. We present a verbal model for the evolutionary origin and elaboration of sib-social care from maternal care based on the modification of the timing of expression of maternal care behaviors. Specifically, heterochrony genes cause maternal care behaviors to be expressed prereproductively towards siblings instead of postreproductively towards offspring. Our review demonstrates that both maternal effect genes (expressed in a parental manipulation manner) and direct effect zygotic genes (expressed in an offspring control manner) are likely involved in the evolution of eusociality. We conclude by describing theoretical and empirical advances with indirect genetic effects and sociogenomics, and we provide specific quantitative genetic and genomic predictions from our heterochrony model for the evolutionary origin and elaboration of eusociality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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