The genetic basis of a social polymorphism in halictid bees.

TitleThe genetic basis of a social polymorphism in halictid bees.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKocher, SD, Mallarino, R, Rubin, BER, Yu, DW, Hoekstra, HE, Pierce, NE
JournalNat Commun
Volume9
Issue1
Pagination4338
Date Published2018 Oct 18
ISSN2041-1723
Abstract

The emergence of eusociality represents a major evolutionary transition from solitary to group reproduction. The most commonly studied eusocial species, honey bees and ants, represent the behavioral extremes of social evolution but lack close relatives that are non-social. Unlike these species, the halictid bee Lasioglossum albipes produces both solitary and eusocial nests and this intraspecific variation has a genetic basis. Here, we identify genetic variants associated with this polymorphism, including one located in the intron of syntaxin 1a (syx1a), a gene that mediates synaptic vesicle release. We show that this variant can alter gene expression in a pattern consistent with differences between social and solitary bees. Surprisingly, syx1a and several other genes associated with sociality in L. albipes have also been implicated in autism spectrum disorder in humans. Thus, genes underlying behavioral variation in L. albipes may also shape social behaviors across a wide range of taxa, including humans.

DOI10.1038/s41467-018-06824-8
Alternate JournalNat Commun
PubMed ID30337532
PubMed Central IDPMC6194137