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Phenotypic plasticity and modularity allow for the production of novel mosaic phenotypes in ants

Overview of attention for article published in EvoDevo, December 2015
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Phenotypic plasticity and modularity allow for the production of novel mosaic phenotypes in ants
Published in
EvoDevo, December 2015
DOI 10.1186/s13227-015-0031-5
Pubmed ID

Sylvain Londe, Thibaud Monnin, Raphaël Cornette, Vincent Debat, Brian L. Fisher, Mathieu Molet


The origin of discrete novelties remains unclear. Some authors suggest that qualitative phenotypic changes may result from the reorganization of preexisting phenotypic traits during development (i.e., developmental recombination) following genetic or environmental changes. Because ants combine high modularity with extreme phenotypic plasticity (queen and worker castes), their diversified castes could have evolved by developmental recombination. We performed a quantitative morphometric study to investigate the developmental origins of novel phenotypes in the ant Mystrium rogeri, which occasionally produces anomalous 'intercastes.' Our analysis compared the variation of six morphological modules with body size using a large sample of intercastes. We confirmed that intercastes are conspicuous mosaics that recombine queen and worker modules. In addition, we found that many other individuals traditionally classified as workers or queens also exhibit some level of mosaicism. The six modules had distinct profiles of variation suggesting that each module responds differentially to factors that control body size and polyphenism. Mosaicism appears to result from each module responding differently yet in an ordered and predictable manner to intermediate levels of inducing factors that control polyphenism. The order of module response determines which mosaic combinations are produced. Because the frequency of mosaics and their canalization around a particular phenotype may evolve by selection on standing genetic variation that affects the plastic response (i.e., genetic accommodation), developmental recombination is likely to play an important role in the evolution of novel castes in ants. Indeed, we found that most mosaics have queen-like head and gaster but a worker-like thorax congruent with the morphology of ergatoid queens and soldiers, respectively. Ergatoid queens of M. oberthueri, a sister species of M. rogeri, could have evolved from intercastes produced ancestrally through such a process.

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 70 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 1 1%
France 1 1%
Unknown 68 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 17 24%
Student > Bachelor 14 20%
Researcher 9 13%
Student > Master 6 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 3 4%
Other 9 13%
Unknown 12 17%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 40 57%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 7 10%
Environmental Science 4 6%
Arts and Humanities 2 3%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 2 3%
Other 4 6%
Unknown 11 16%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 3. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 25 January 2016.
All research outputs
of 22,834,308 outputs
Outputs from EvoDevo
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Outputs of similar age
of 387,568 outputs
Outputs of similar age from EvoDevo
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Altmetric has tracked 22,834,308 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 43rd percentile – i.e., 43% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 319 research outputs from this source. They typically receive more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 9.4. This one is in the 34th percentile – i.e., 34% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 387,568 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 54% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 10 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than 3 of them.