Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Sep 17. pii: S0959-4388(12)00141-9. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2012.08.008. [Epub ahead of print]
Center for Integrative Genomics, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland; Department of Ecology and Evolution, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Elucidating the molecular and neural basis of complex social behaviors such as communal living, division of labor and warfare requires model organisms that exhibit these multi-faceted behavioral phenotypes. Social insects, such as ants, bees, wasps and termites, are attractive models to address this problem, with rich ecological and ethological foundations. However, their atypical systems of reproduction have hindered application of classical genetic approaches. In this review, we discuss how recent advances in social insect genomics, transcriptomics, and functional manipulations have enhanced our ability to observe and perturb gene expression, physiology and behavior in these species. Such developments begin to provide an integrated view of the molecular and cellular underpinnings of complex social behavior.
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