Amdam et al., 10.1073/pnas.0403073101: "Reproductive ground plan may mediate colony-level selection effects on individual foraging behavior in honey bees " Amdam et al. document that the pleiotropic genetic network that controls foraging behavior in functionally sterile honey bee workers (Apis mellifera) has a reproductive component. It is stated that associations between behavior, physiology, and sensory tuning in workers with different foraging strategies indicate that the underlying genetic architectures were designed to control a reproductive cycle. Genetic circuits that make up the regulatory "ground plan" of a reproductive strategy may provide powerful building blocks for social life. Amdam et al. suggest that exploitation of this ground plan plays a fundamental role in the evolution of social insect societies.
Science News About Ant and Other Social Insect Research