Genetic basis of chemical communication in eusocial insects

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Social behavior is one of the most fascinating and complex behaviors in humans and animals. A fundamental process of social behavior is communication among individuals. It relies on the capability of the nervous system to sense, process, and interpret various signals (e.g., pheromones) and respond with appropriate decisions and actions. Eusocial insects, including ants, some bees, some wasps, and termites, display intriguing cooperative social behavior. Recent advances in genetic and genomic studies have revealed key genes that are involved in pheromone synthesis, chemosensory perception, and physiological and behavioral responses to varied pheromones. In this review, we highlight the genes and pathways that regulate queen pheromone-mediated social communication, discuss the evolutionary changes in genetic systems, and outline prospects of functional studies in sociobiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-482
Number of pages13
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Chemosensory system
  • Communication
  • Genetic regulation
  • Pheromone
  • Signal evolution
  • Social behavior]

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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