Phenotypic plasticity, the ability to produce multiple phenotypes from a single genotype, represents an excellent model with which to examine the relationship between gene expression and phenotypes. Analyses of the molecular foundations of phenotypic plasticity are challenging, however, especially in the case of complex social phenotypes. Here we apply a machine learning approach to tackle this challenge by analyzing individual-level gene expression profiles of Polistes dominula paper wasps following the loss of a queen. We find that caste-associated gene expression profiles respond strongly to queen loss, and that this change is partly explained by attributes such as age but occurs even in individuals that appear phenotypically unaffected. These results demonstrate that large changes in gene expression may occur in the absence of outwardly detectable phenotypic changes, resulting here in a socially mediated de-differentiation of individuals at the transcriptomic level but not at the levels of ovarian development or behavior.

The molecular basis of socially mediated phenotypic plasticity in a eusocial paper wasp

Cini A.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity, the ability to produce multiple phenotypes from a single genotype, represents an excellent model with which to examine the relationship between gene expression and phenotypes. Analyses of the molecular foundations of phenotypic plasticity are challenging, however, especially in the case of complex social phenotypes. Here we apply a machine learning approach to tackle this challenge by analyzing individual-level gene expression profiles of Polistes dominula paper wasps following the loss of a queen. We find that caste-associated gene expression profiles respond strongly to queen loss, and that this change is partly explained by attributes such as age but occurs even in individuals that appear phenotypically unaffected. These results demonstrate that large changes in gene expression may occur in the absence of outwardly detectable phenotypic changes, resulting here in a socially mediated de-differentiation of individuals at the transcriptomic level but not at the levels of ovarian development or behavior.
2021
Taylor, B. A.; Cini, A.; Wyatt, C. D. R.; Reuter, M.; Sumner, S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1156678
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