Sex-linked genetic influence on caste determination in a termite

Yoshinobu Hayashi, Nathan Lo, Hitoshi Miyata, Osamu Kitade

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63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The most ecologically successful and destructive termite species are those with both a nymph caste and an irreversibly wingless worker caste. The early developmental bifurcation separating these castes is widely accepted to be strictly environmentally determined. We present evidence that genotype also influences this process. Offspring from four different crosses of nymph- and worker-derived secondary reproductive individuals had strongly differentiated caste and sex ratios, despite uniform rearing conditions. These data fit an X-linked, one-locus-two-allele model. Of five possible genotypes, one was lethal, two resulted in workers, and two resulted in either nymphs or environmentally determined workers. Caste is thus controlled both by environment and by a complex genetic inheritance pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-987
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume318
Issue number5852
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Nov 2
Externally publishedYes

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