Deciphering the genetic and neurobiological underpinnings of social behavior is a difficult task. Simple model organisms such as C. elegans, Drosophila, and social insects display a wealth of social behaviors similar to those in more complex animals, including social dominance, group decision making, learning from experienced individuals, and foraging in groups. Although the study of social interactions is still in its infancy, the ability to assess the contributions of gene expression, neural circuitry, and the environment in response to social context in these simple model organisms is unsurpassed. Here, I take a comparative approach, discussing selected examples of social behavior across species and highlighting the common themes that emerge.
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