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Title: Acute and chronic gregarisation are associated with distinct DNA methylation fingerprints in desert locusts.
Authors: Mallon, E. B.
Amarasinghe, H. E.
Ott, Swidbert R.
First Published: 18-Oct-2016
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2016, 6:35608
Abstract: Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) show a dramatic form of socially induced phenotypic plasticity known as phase polyphenism. In the absence of conspecifics, locusts occur in a shy and cryptic solitarious phase. Crowding with conspecifics drives a behavioural transformation towards gregariousness that occurs within hours and is followed by changes in physiology, colouration and morphology, resulting in the full gregarious phase syndrome. We analysed methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphisms (MS-AFLP) to compare the effect of acute and chronic crowding on DNA methylation in the central nervous system. We find that crowd-reared and solitary-reared locusts show markedly different neural MS-AFLP fingerprints. However, crowding for a day resulted in neural MS-AFLP fingerprints that were clearly distinct from both crowd-reared and uncrowded solitary-reared locusts. Our results indicate that changes in DNA methylation associated with behavioural gregarisation proceed through intermediate states that are not simply partial realisations of the endpoint states.
DOI Link: 10.1038/srep35608
ISSN: 2045-2322
eISSN: 2045-2322
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Genetics

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