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Journal Articles Molecular Ecology Year : 2023

The for gene as one of the drivers of foraging variations in a parasitic wasp

Aurore Gallot
Vincent Lhuillier
  • Function : Author
David Lepetit
Adil El Filali
  • Function : Author
Laurence Mouton
Isabelle Amat


Abstract Foraging behaviours encompass strategies to locate resources and to exploit them. In many taxa, these behaviours are driven by a major gene called for, but the mechanisms of gene regulation vary between species. In the parasitoid wasp Venturia canescens , sexual and asexual populations coexist in sympatry but differ in life‐history traits, physiology and behaviours, which could impact their foraging strategies. Here, we explored the molecular bases underpinning divergence in behaviours by testing two mutually nonexclusive hypotheses: first, the divergence in the for gene correlates with differences in foraging strategies, and second, the latter rely on a divergence in whole‐genome expression. Using comparative genomics, we showed that the for gene was conserved across insects considering both sequence and gene model complexity. Polymorphism analysis did not support the occurrence of two allelic variants diverging across the two populations, yet the asexual population exhibited less polymorphism than the sexual population. Sexual and asexual transcriptomes split sharply, with 10.9% differentially expressed genes, but these were not enriched in behaviour‐related genes. We showed that the for gene was more highly expressed in asexual female heads than in sexual heads and that those differences correlate with divergence in foraging behaviours in our experiment given that asexuals explored the environment more and exploited more host patches. Overall, these results suggested that fine tuning of for gene expression between populations may have led to distinct foraging behaviours. We hypothesized that reproductive polymorphism and coexistence in sympatry of sexual and asexual populations specialized to different ecological niches via divergent optima on phenotypic traits could imply adaptation through different expression patterns of the for gene and at many other loci throughout the genome.

Dates and versions

hal-04515212 , version 1 (21-03-2024)



Aurore Gallot, Emmanuel Desouhant, Vincent Lhuillier, David Lepetit, Adil El Filali, et al.. The for gene as one of the drivers of foraging variations in a parasitic wasp. Molecular Ecology, 2023, 32 (7), pp.1760-1776. ⟨10.1111/mec.16834⟩. ⟨hal-04515212⟩
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