Genetics of social behaviour in fire ants.

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Abstract

A recent study is the first to sequence a gene known to underlie a complex social phenotype. In the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, a single allelic difference at the Gp-9 locus specifies the number of queens a colony has, and hence the social structure of the colony. Gp-9 appears to encode a protein implicated in chemical recognition of nestmates, consistent with workers determining queen number by selectively executing queens as a function of workers’ and queens’ Gp-9 genotypes. Other Solenopsis species exhibit the same social and genetic polymorphism. This study pioneers the integrated understanding of the evolution of social behaviour at molecular, individual and social levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-223
Number of pages3
JournalTrends in Genetics
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2002

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