Genetic analysis of breeding structure in laboratory-reared colonies of Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera : Rhinotermitidae) Academic Article uri icon


  • Thirteen laboratory-reared R. flavipes colonies were housed in 3-resource foraging arenas for 20 months. Four of these colonies were queenless, having lost their founding queen 2-6 years prior. Microsatellite analysis performed on workers sampled from each resource allowed each colony to be classified as either a simple or an extended family and to examine the queenless colonies for evidence of genetic differentiation among the 3 linked feeding resources. F-statistics (Wright 1921) and relatedness coefficient (b) (Pamilo 1984) were generated with Genetic Data Analysis software (Lewis & Zaykin 2001) with notational conventions of Thorne et al. (1999) and Bulmer et al. (2001). Among the 4 queenless colonies, FIT = 0.52 (c.i. 0.37-0.65), FCT = 0.59 (c.i. 0.48-0.69), FIC = -0.17 (c.i. -0.27-0.08), and b = 0.78. These results are not significantly different from values predicted for an inbred colony with 2 female neotenics and a single male (Thorne et al. 1999). FIT = 0.52 and b = 0.78 indicate marked inbreeding in this laboratory population. The founding of these colonies by probable siblings undoubtedly accounted for a portion of this observed loss of heterozygosity, but regional variation in levels of inbreeding may have also contributed (Reilly 1987; Bulmer et al. 2001; Vargo 2003). FIC = -0.17 suggests an intermediate loss of heterozygosity within each colony, but not existence of differentiated bud nests. FCT = 0.59 in this laboratory population indicates relatively high contrast between colonies.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Long, C. E., Vargo, E. L., Thorne, B. L., & Juba, T. R.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Long, Catherine E||Vargo, Edward L||Thorne, Barbara L||Juba, Thomas R

publication date

  • January 1, 2006 11:11 AM