Gene expression and the evolution of insect polyphenisms

Jay D. Evans, Diana E. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Polyphenic differences between individuals arise not through differences at the genome level but as a result of specific cues received during development. Polyphenisms often involve entire suites of characters, as shown dramatically by the polyphenic castes found in many social insect colonies. An understanding of the genetic architecture behind polyphenisms provides a novel means of studying the interplay between genomes, gene expression and phenotypes. Here we discuss polyphenisms and molecular genetic tools now available to unravel their developmental bases in insects. We focus on several recent studies that have tracked gene-expression patterns during social insect caste determination. BioEssays 23:62-68, 2001. Published 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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