Genomic signatures of evolutionary transitions from solitary to group living

Karen M. Kapheim, Hailin Pan, Cai Li, Steven L. Salzberg, Daniela Puiu, Tanja Magoc, Hugh M. Robertson, Matthew E. Hudson, Aarti Venkat, Brielle J. Fischman, Alvaro Hernandez, Mark Yandell, Daniel Ence, Carson Holt, George D. Yocum, William P. Kemp, Jordi Bosch, Robert M. Waterhouse, Evgeny M. Zdobnov, Eckart StolleF. Bernhard Kraus, Sophie Helbing, Robin F.A. Moritz, Karl M. Glastad, Brendan G. Hunt, Michael A.D. Goodisman, Frank Hauser, Cornelis J.P. Grimmelikhuijzen, Daniel Guariz Pinheiro, Francis Morais Franco Nunes, Michelle Prioli Miranda Soares, Érica Donato Tanaka, Zilá Luz Paulino Simões, Klaus Hartfelder, Jay D. Evans, Seth M. Barribeau, Reed M. Johnson, Jonathan H. Massey, Bruce R. Southey, Martin Hasselmann, Daniel Hamacher, Matthias Biewer, Clement F. Kent, Amro Zayed, Charles Blatti, Saurabh Sinha, J. Spencer Johnston, Shawn J. Hanrahan, Sarah D. Kocher, Jun Wang, Gene E. Robinson, Guojie Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

275 Scopus citations


The evolution of eusociality is one of the major transitions in evolution, but the underlying genomic changes are unknown. We compared the genomes of 10 bee species that vary in social complexity, representing multiple independent transitions in social evolution, and report three major findings. First, many important genes show evidence of neutral evolution as a consequence of relaxed selection with increasing social complexity. Second, there is no single road map to eusociality; independent evolutionary transitions in sociality have independent genetic underpinnings. Third, though clearly independent in detail, these transitions do have similar general features, including an increase in constrained protein evolution accompanied by increases in the potential for gene regulation and decreases in diversity and abundance of transposable elements. Eusociality may arise through different mechanisms each time, but would likely always involve an increase in the complexity of gene networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1143
Number of pages5
Issue number6239
StatePublished - Jun 5 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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