Selfish genes: a green beard in the red fire ant

@article{Keller1998SelfishGA,
  title={Selfish genes: a green beard in the red fire ant},
  author={Laurent Keller and Kenneth G. Ross},
  journal={Nature},
  year={1998},
  volume={394},
  pages={573-575}
}
A ‘green-beard’ gene is defined as a gene that causes a phenotypic effect (such as the presence of a green beard or any other conspicuous feature), allows the bearer of this feature to recognize it in other individuals, and causes the bearer to behave differently towards other individuals depending on whether or not they possess the feature. Such genes have been proposed on theoretical grounds to be agents mediating both altruism and intragenomic conflicts,, but until now few, if any, of these… 

Red ants with green beards

Keller and Ross (1998) have produced what appears to be the first experimental evidence for a green beard gene in polygynous colonies (colonies with many queens) of the so called red fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

Evolutionary biology: Green beard as death warrant

'Green beard' genes are theoretical constructs that cause their bearer to display a distinctive trait, fancifully named a green beard, and in this case, if queen ants lack the gene they are executed by workers that carry it.

Altruism through beard chromodynamics

This work model the green beard effect and finds that if recognition and altruism are always inherited together, the dynamics are highly unstable, leading to the loss of altruism, whereas if the effect is caused by loosely coupled separate genes, altruism is facilitated through beard chromodynamics in which many beard colours co-occur.

Potential cause of lethality of an allele implicated in social evolution in fire ants

Data are consistent with the hypothesis that the Lys151 residue in GP-9 protein confers the deleterious effects of the b allele in homozygous condition, possibly by impairing the protein’s function through interference with ligand binding/release or hindrance of dimer formation.

Green beards in the light of indirect genetic effects

This work uses models of indirect genetic effects (IGEs) to find the minimum correlation between the signaling and altruistic trait required for the evolution of the latter, and shows that this correlation threshold depends on the strength of the interaction, as well as the costs and benefits of the altruistic behavior.

ARE GREENBEARDS INTRAGENOMIC OUTLAWS?

This work develops population genetic models that formally examine selection of greenbeard phenotypes under the control of different loci and finds that, in many cases, greenbeards are not outlaws because selection for or against the greenbeard phenotype is the same across all loci.

Genetics: A social rearrangement

A large-scale analysis of the genomic region involved in fire ant polymorphism is presented and, surprisingly, the various aspects of this polymorphism are found to be governed by a non-recombining supergene occupying half a chromosome.

Altruism, Spite, and Greenbeards

It is shown how recent work has resolved three key debates, helping clarify how Hamilton’s theoretical overview links to real-world examples, in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans.

The role of Gp-9 in regulating social behavior in fire ants

It is sought to show how a relatively small number of the b all le carrying workers are sufficient to elicit polygyny behavior and that queen effects do not influence the acceptance of supernumerary queens, and to show that single nucleotide substitutions at the Gp-9 locus are not sufficiently associated with polygyne behavior.

Molecular Variation at a Candidate Gene Implicated in the Regulation of Fire Ant Social Behavior

No single b-like residue is completely predictive of polygyne behavior and, thus, potentially causally involved in its expression, so naturally occurring variation at Gp-9 in fire ants is described, and several unique alleles bearing various combinations of b- like and B-like codons are found.
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