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A complete absence of indirect genetic effects on brain gene expression in a highly social context

Kay, Tomas; Alciatore, Giacamo; La Mendola, Christine; Reuter, Max; Ulrich, Yuko; Keller, Laurent; (2022) A complete absence of indirect genetic effects on brain gene expression in a highly social context. Molecular Ecology 10.1111/mec.16686. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Genes not only control traits of their carrier organism (known as Direct Genetic Effects or DGEs) but also shape their carrier's physical environment and the phenotypes of their carrier's social partners (known as Indirect Genetic Effects or IGEs). Theoretical research has shown that the effects that genes exert on social partners can have profound consequences, potentially altering heritability and the direction of trait evolution. Complementary empirical research has shown that in various contexts (particularly in animal agriculture) IGEs can explain a large proportion of variation in specific traits. However, little is known about the general prevalence of IGEs. We conducted a reciprocal cross-fostering experiment with two genetic lineages of the clonal raider ant Ooceraea biroi to quantify the relative contribution of DGEs and IGEs to variation in brain gene expression (which underlies behavioral variation). We find that thousands of genes are differentially expressed by DGEs but not a single gene is differentially expressed by IGEs. This is surprising given the highly social context of ant colonies and given that individual behavior varies according to the genotypic composition of the social environment in O. biroi. Overall, these findings indicate that we have a lot to learn about how the magnitude of IGEs varies across species and contexts.

Type: Article
Title: A complete absence of indirect genetic effects on brain gene expression in a highly social context
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/mec.16686
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16686
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. Molecular Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10156050
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