ESTIMATION OF GENOMIC RECOMBINATION RATES OF TERMITES
PRASHANT WAIKER, PRASHANT WAIKER , OLAV RUEPPELL , ED VARGO , KENJI MATSUURA
BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT, THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT GREENSBORO, NC, USA; BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT, THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT GREENSBORO, NC, USA ; BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT, THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT GREENSBORO, NC, USA ; DEPARTMENT OF ENTOMOLOGY, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, USA ; KYOTO UNIVERSITY, JAPAN
Meiotic recombination is a conserved process present in sexual organisms, which is not just thought to be essential to increase genetic diversity but also provides a physical connection to homologous chromosome and ensures faithful segregation. Chromosome number has been a classic predictor of recombination due to obligate chiasmata in the meiotic crossover. Social insects have shown exceptionally high rates of recombination compared to all other multicellular eukaryotes, and the phenomenon of eusociality is often correlated with high recombination rates. The popular explanation of the elevated recombination rate in social insects is that it is a factor to increase genetic diversity to enhance division of labor and disease resistance in colonies. However, recent evidence has shown that elevated recombination and high chromosome number might not be true for explaining social behavior, especially when most of the published data is skewed towards a just an order- Hymenoptera such as wasp, ants, and bees. Termites, the second most important social insect group, were never tested for the hypothesis that eusociality can be correlated to recombination rates. We performed high-density linkage map analysis to reveal the recombination rate in this Isopteran group to infer important insights of meiotic recombination in termites.The linkage map analysis of two species of termites- R. flavipes and R. speratus was carried out. The results revealed approximate recombination rates were in the range of 1 to 6 cM/Mb, equivalent to estimates in non-social species and much lesser than social hymenopterans. The result suggests that general notion of high rates of recombination in social insects may not hold true in all cases. The finding not only questions the hypothesis which correlates elevated recombination with eusociality but also leaves an open question to think that if not high recombination then what regulates evolution of eusocial behavior in insects?