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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #322102

Title: Molecular mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity in social insects

item Corona, Miguel
item LIBBRECHT, ROMAIN - University Of Lausanne
item WHEELER, DIANA - University Of Arizona

Submitted to: Current Opinion in Insect Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2016
Publication Date: 3/13/2016
Citation: Corona, M.V., Libbrecht, R., Wheeler, D.E. 2016. Molecular mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity in social insects. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 13:55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2015.12.003.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Polyphenism in insects, whereby a single genome expresses different phenotypes in response to environmental cues, is a fascinating biological phenomenon. Social insects are especially intriguing examples of phenotypic plasticity because division of labor results in the development of extreme morphological phenotypes. Although sociality evolved independently in ants, bees, wasps and termites, similar genetic pathways regulate phenotypic plasticity in these different groups of social insects. The Insulin/insulin-like growth signaling (IIS) plays a key role in this process. Recent research reveals that IIS interacts with other pathways including target of rapamycin (Tor), epidermic growth factor receptor (egfr), juvenile hormone (JH) and vitellogenin (Vg) to regulate caste differentiation.