Polyphenism in social insects: insights from a transcriptome-wide analysis of gene expression in the life stages of the key pollinator, Bombus terrestris.

Thomas J Colgan, James C Carolan, Stephen J Bridgett, Seirian Sumner, Mark L Blaxter, Mark Jf Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding polyphenism, the ability of a single genome to express multiple morphologically and behaviourally distinct phenotypes, is an important goal for evolutionary and developmental biology. Polyphenism has been key to the evolution of the Hymenoptera, and particularly the social Hymenoptera where the genome of a single species regulates distinct larval stages, sexual dimorphism and physical castes within the female sex. Transcriptomic analyses of social Hymenoptera will therefore provide unique insights into how changes in gene expression underlie such complexity. Here we describe gene expression in individual specimens of the pre-adult stages, sexes and castes of the key pollinator, the buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)623
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Cite this