Evo-devo and the evolution of social behavior

Trends Genet. 2007 Jul;23(7):334-41. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2007.05.001. Epub 2007 May 16.


The integration of evolutionary biology with developmental genetics into the hybrid field of 'evo-devo' resulted in major advances in understanding multicellular development and morphological evolution. Here we show how insights from evo-devo can be applied to study the evolution of social behavior. We develop this idea by reviewing studies that suggest that molecular pathways controlling feeding behavior and reproduction in solitary insects are part of a 'genetic toolkit' underlying the evolution of a particularly complex form of social behavior, division of labor among workers in honeybee colonies. The evo-devo approach, coupled with advances in genomics for non-model genetic organisms, including the recent sequencing of the honeybee genome, promises to advance our understanding of the evolution of social behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ants
  • Bees
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Developmental Biology
  • Endocrine System / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetics, Population
  • Genome
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Social Behavior*