Association between caste and genotype in the termite Mastotermes darwiniensis Froggatt (Isoptera: Mastotermitidae)

Goodisman, Michael A.D., and Crozier, Rossiter H. (2003) Association between caste and genotype in the termite Mastotermes darwiniensis Froggatt (Isoptera: Mastotermitidae). Australian Journal of Entomology, 42 (1). pp. 1-5.

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Termite workers and soldiers differ markedly in their morphology and behaviour. We sought evidence for genetic influences on caste determination in the giant northern termite, Mastotermes darwiniensis, by investigating if workers and soldiers from the same colony differed genetically. The genotypes of 795 termites from 11 distinct colonies were assayed at six polymorphic microsatellite loci. We found that the multilocus genotypes of workers and soldiers from 8 of the 11 colonies did not differ significantly. Thus, the majority of the data provided no evidence for a genetic association with caste in workers and soldiers of M. darwiniensis. However, the genotype frequencies of workers and soldiers from three colonies differed, suggesting that genotype is occasionally associated with caste in this species. The genetic differentiation of castes within these colonies could reflect differences in the propensities of termites with distinct genotypes to develop into particular castes and provide a selective advantage to colonies headed by multiple reproductives.

Item ID: 5916
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-6055
Keywords: DNA microsatellite; eusociality; polygyny; population genetics; social insect
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2010 01:06
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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