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Nat Commun. 2014 May 20;5:3636. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4636.

Molecular traces of alternative social organization in a termite genome.

Author information

1
1] Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster D48149, Germany [2] [3].
2
1] China National GeneBank, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China [2] Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, Copenhagen 1350, Denmark [3].
3
Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.
4
China National GeneBank, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China.
5
1] Department of Entomology and W. M Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA [2].
6
Division of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA.
7
School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA.
8
School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA.
9
1] Behavioural Biology, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück D49076, Germany [2].
10
Department of Neuroscience, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.
11
Department of Molecular Biology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071, USA.
12
1] School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA [2].
13
1] Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster D48149, Germany [2].
14
1] Department of Entomology and W. M Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA [2] Department of Microbial Molecular Biology, Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute, Giza 12619, Egypt.
15
Department of Entomology and W. M Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.
16
Genomics Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
17
Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.
18
Department of Entomology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena D-07745, Germany.
19
Arid Land Agricultural Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Maricopa, Arizona 85138, USA.
20
1] Division of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA [2] Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA.
21
Institut für Phytopathologie und Angewandte Zoologie, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Giessen D35390, Germany.
22
1] China National GeneBank, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China [2] Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen DK-1165, Denmark [3] Princess Al Jawhara Center of Excellence in the Research of Hereditary Disorders, King Abdulaziz University, 21589 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia [4] Macau University of Science and Technology, Avenida Wai long, Taipa, Macau 999078, China [5] Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
23
Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster D48149, Germany.
24
1] China National GeneBank, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China [2] Centre for Social Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

Although eusociality evolved independently within several orders of insects, research into the molecular underpinnings of the transition towards social complexity has been confined primarily to Hymenoptera (for example, ants and bees). Here we sequence the genome and stage-specific transcriptomes of the dampwood termite Zootermopsis nevadensis (Blattodea) and compare them with similar data for eusocial Hymenoptera, to better identify commonalities and differences in achieving this significant transition. We show an expansion of genes related to male fertility, with upregulated gene expression in male reproductive individuals reflecting the profound differences in mating biology relative to the Hymenoptera. For several chemoreceptor families, we show divergent numbers of genes, which may correspond to the more claustral lifestyle of these termites. We also show similarities in the number and expression of genes related to caste determination mechanisms. Finally, patterns of DNA methylation and alternative splicing support a hypothesized epigenetic regulation of caste differentiation.

PMID:
24845553
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms4636
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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