Sociomics: Using Omic Approaches to Understand Social Evolution.
Ghoul M., Andersen SB., West SA.
All of life is social, from genes cooperating to form organisms, to animals cooperating to form societies. Omic approaches offer exceptional opportunities to solve major outstanding problems in the study of how sociality evolves. First, omics can be used to clarify the extent and form of sociality in natural populations. This is especially useful in species where it is difficult to study social traits in natural populations, such as bacteria and other microbes. Second, omics can be used to examine the consequences of sociality for genome evolution and gene expression. This is especially useful in cases where there is clear variation in the level of sociality, such as the social insects. Major tasks for the future are to apply these approaches to a wider range of non-model organisms, and to move from exploratory analyses to the testing of evolutionary theory.