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Curr Biol. 2014 Nov 17;24(22):2728-32. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.071. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

Convergent genetic architecture underlies social organization in ants.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, UNIL-Sorge, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address: jessica.purcell@unil.ch.
2
Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, UNIL-Sorge, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
3
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK.
4
Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, UNIL-Sorge, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address: michel.chapuisat@unil.ch.

Abstract

Complex adaptive polymorphisms are common in nature, but what mechanisms maintain the underlying favorable allelic combinations? The convergent evolution of polymorphic social organization in two independent ant species provides a great opportunity to investigate how genomes evolved under parallel selection. Here, we demonstrate that a large, nonrecombining "social chromosome" is associated with social organization in the Alpine silver ant, Formica selysi. This social chromosome shares architectural characteristics with that of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, but the two show no detectable similarity in gene content. The discovery of convergence at two levels--the phenotype and the genetic architecture associated with alternative social forms--points at general genetic mechanisms underlying transitions in social organization. More broadly, our findings are consistent with recent theoretical studies suggesting that suppression of recombination plays a key role in facilitating coordinated shifts in coadapted traits.

PMID:
25455032
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.071
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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