Dataset Information


Sociality and DNA methylation are not evolutionary dependent

ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is an important chromatin modification that is necessary for the structural integrity and proper regulation of the genome for many species. Despite its conservation across the tree of life, little is known about its contribution to complex traits. Reports that differences in DNA methylation between castes in closely related Hymenopteran insects (ants, bees and wasps) contributes to social behaviors has generated hypotheses on the role of DNA methylation in governing social behavior. However, social behavior has evolved multiple times across insecta, and a common role of DNA methylation in social behavior remains outstanding. Using phylogenetic comparative methods we sought to better understand patterns of DNA methylation and social behavior across insects. DNA methylation can be found in social and solitary insects from all orders, except Diptera (flies), which suggests a shared loss of DNA methylation within this order. The lack of DNA methylation is reflected in the absence of the maintenance and de novo DNA methyltransferases (DNMT) 1 and 3, respectively. Interestingly, DNA methylation is found in species without DNMT3. DNA methylation and social behavior (social/solitary) or with division of labor (caste+/caste–) for 123 insect species analyzed from 11 orders are not evolutionary dependent, which is further supported by sequencing of DNA methylomes from 40 species. Overall design: MethylC-Seq collected from a diverse collection of social and solitary insects

INSTRUMENT(S): Illumina NextSeq 500 (Acyrthosiphon pisum)

SUBMITTER: Robert J Schmitz  

PROVIDER: GSE83497 | GEO | 2017-02-02



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Evolution of DNA Methylation across Insects.

Bewick Adam J AJ   Vogel Kevin J KJ   Moore Allen J AJ   Schmitz Robert J RJ  

Molecular biology and evolution 20170301 3

DNA methylation contributes to gene and transcriptional regulation in eukaryotes, and therefore has been hypothesized to facilitate the evolution of plastic traits such as sociality in insects. However, DNA methylation is sparsely studied in insects. Therefore, we documented patterns of DNA methylation across a wide diversity of insects. We predicted that underlying enzymatic machinery is concordant with patterns of DNA methylation. Finally, given the suggestion that DNA methylation facilitated  ...[more]

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