Social evolution. Genomic signatures of evolutionary transitions from solitary to group living. Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

published proceedings

  • Science

altmetric score

  • 201.712

author list (cited authors)

  • Kapheim, K. M., Pan, H., Li, C., Salzberg, S. L., Puiu, D., Magoc, T., ... Zhang, G.

citation count

  • 274

complete list of authors

  • Kapheim, Karen M||Pan, Hailin||Li, Cai||Salzberg, Steven L||Puiu, Daniela||Magoc, Tanja||Robertson, Hugh M||Hudson, Matthew E||Venkat, Aarti||Fischman, Brielle J||Hernandez, Alvaro||Yandell, Mark||Ence, Daniel||Holt, Carson||Yocum, George D||Kemp, William P||Bosch, Jordi||Waterhouse, Robert M||Zdobnov, Evgeny M||Stolle, Eckart||Kraus, F Bernhard||Helbing, Sophie||Moritz, Robin FA||Glastad, Karl M||Hunt, Brendan G||Goodisman, Michael AD||Hauser, Frank||Grimmelikhuijzen, Cornelis JP||Pinheiro, Daniel Guariz||Nunes, Francis Morais Franco||Soares, Michelle Prioli Miranda||Tanaka, Érica Donato||Simões, Zilá Luz Paulino||Hartfelder, Klaus||Evans, Jay D||Barribeau, Seth M||Johnson, Reed M||Massey, Jonathan H||Southey, Bruce R||Hasselmann, Martin||Hamacher, Daniel||Biewer, Matthias||Kent, Clement F||Zayed, Amro||Blatti, Charles||Sinha, Saurabh||Johnston, J Spencer||Hanrahan, Shawn J||Kocher, Sarah D||Wang, Jun||Robinson, Gene E||Zhang, Guojie

publication date

  • May 2015