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A major transition in evolution is the origin of a division between reproduction and work among individuals. Nowhere is this divide more striking than in social insects, where workers rarely produce offspring even though they are often capable of reproduction should the queen or king die. The molecular mechanisms that control worker reproduction remain largely unknown. We used a combination of behavioral assays and RNA interference (RNAi) to identify a gene required for the reproductive division of labor between the queen and the workers.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.1170660

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publication Date

08/05/2009

Volume

324

Keywords

Animals, Behavior, Animal, Evolution, Molecular, Female, Genes, Glycoside Hydrolases, Isoptera, RNA Interference, Reproduction, Social Behavior