What the papers say
Genetic caste determination in termites: out of the shade but not from Mars
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2008
Copyright © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 30, Issue 4, pages 299–302, April 2008
How to Cite
Crozier, R. H. and Schlüns, H. (2008), Genetic caste determination in termites: out of the shade but not from Mars. Bioessays, 30: 299–302. doi: 10.1002/bies.20732
- Issue published online: 17 MAR 2008
- Article first published online: 17 MAR 2008
- the Australian Research Council
Several ant species are known with genetic effects on caste determination but, for termites, the role of environment has been assumed to be omnipotent. Now Hayashi et al. report that commitment to the nymph and worker pathways in Reticulitermes speratus follows a simple model involving two alleles at a sex-linked locus.1 The spread of this system of genetic caste determination seems best explained by selection at the colony level. This remarkable system may be widely applicable throughout termites, although it cannot be universal, and may provide a window into causal aspects of the molecular biology of caste determination. BioEssays 30:299–302, 2008. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.