Article open access publication

Genomic signatures of evolutionary transitions from solitary to group living

Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), ISSN 0036-8075

Volume 348, 6239, 2015

DOI:10.1126/science.aaa4788, Dimensions: pub.1040394267, PMC: PMC5471836, PMID: 25977371,



  1. (1) Utah State University, grid.53857.3c
  2. (2) University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, grid.35403.31
  3. (3) Beijing Genomics Institute, grid.21155.32
  4. (4) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  5. (5) Johns Hopkins University, grid.21107.35
  6. (6) University of Chicago, grid.170205.1
  7. (7) Hobart and William Smith Colleges, grid.257037.4
  8. (8) University of Utah, grid.223827.e
  9. (9) Agricultural Research Service, grid.463419.d
  10. (10) Autonomous University of Barcelona, grid.7080.f
  11. (11) Broad Institute, grid.66859.34
  12. (12) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, grid.116068.8
  13. (13) Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, grid.419765.8
  14. (14) University of Geneva, grid.8591.5
  15. (15) Queen Mary University of London, grid.4868.2
  16. (16) Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, grid.9018.0
  17. (17) University Hospital in Halle, grid.461820.9
  18. (18) German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research, grid.421064.5
  19. (19) Georgia Institute of Technology, grid.213917.f
  20. (20) University of Georgia, grid.213876.9
  21. (21) Sao Paulo State University, grid.410543.7
  22. (22) University of Sao Paulo, grid.11899.38
  23. (23) Federal University of São Carlos, grid.411247.5
  24. (24) USDA-ARS Bee Research Lab, Beltsville, MD 20705 USA
  25. (25) East Carolina University, grid.255364.3
  26. (26) The Ohio State University, grid.261331.4
  27. (27) University of Michigan, grid.214458.e
  28. (28) University of Hohenheim, grid.9464.f
  29. (29) Janelia Research Campus, grid.443970.d
  30. (30) York University, grid.21100.32
  31. (31) Texas A&M University, grid.264756.4
  32. (32) Harvard University, grid.38142.3c
  33. (33) King Abdulaziz University, grid.412125.1
  34. (34) Macau University of Science and Technology, Avenida Wai long, Taipa, Macau 999078, China
  35. (35) University of Hong Kong, grid.194645.b


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.


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Times Cited: 201

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 34.68

Relative Citation ratio (RCR): 7.45

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