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Growth and Patterning are Evolutionarily Dissociated in the Vestigial Wing Discs of Workers
 

Summary: Growth and Patterning are Evolutionarily
Dissociated in the Vestigial Wing Discs of Workers
of the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis Invicta
JULIA H. BOWSHER1
, GREGORY A. WRAY1
, AND EHAB ABOUHEIF2
1
Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
2
Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
ABSTRACT Over the last decade, it has become clear that organismal form is largely
determined by developmental and evolutionary changes in the growth and pattern formation
of tissues. Yet, there is little known about how these two integrated processes respond
to environmental cues or how they evolve relative to one another. Here, we present the discovery
of vestigial wing imaginal discs in worker larvae of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.
These vestigial wing discs are present in all worker larvae, which is uncommon for a species with a
large worker size distribution. Furthermore, the growth trajectory of these vestigial discs is distinct
from all of the ant species examined to date because they grow at a rate slower than the leg discs. We
predicted that the growth trajectory of the vestigial wing discs would be mirrored by evolutionary
changes in their patterning. We tested this prediction by examining the expression of three

  

Source: Abouheif, Ehab - Department of Biology, McGill University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology