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Correlations between spatiotemporal changes in gene expression and apoptosis underlie wing polyphenism in the ant Pheidole morrisi
 

Summary: Correlations between spatiotemporal changes in gene expression and
apoptosis underlie wing polyphenism in the ant Pheidole morrisi
Seba Jamal Shbailat, Abderrahman Khila, and Ehab Abouheif√
Department of Biology, McGill University, Avenue Docteur Penfield, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1B1
√Author for correspondence (email: ehab.abouheif@mcgill.ca)
SUMMARY Wing polyphenism, which is the ability of a
single genome to produce winged and wingless castes in a
colony in response to environmental cues, evolved just once
and is a universal feature of ants. The gene network under-
lying wing polyphenism, however, is conserved in the winged
castes of different ant species, but is interrupted at different
points in the network in the wingless castes of these species.
We previously constructed a mathematical model, which
predicts that a key gene brinker (brk) mediates the
development and evolution of these different ``interruption
points'' in wingless castes of different ant species. According
to this model, brk is upregulated throughout the vestigial wing
discs of wingless ant castes to reduce growth and induce
apoptosis. Here, we tested these predictions by examining the
expression of brk, as well as three other genes up- and

  

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

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology