Jump to Main Content
Epigenetics of Social Behaviour
- Seebacher, Frank, Krause, Jens
- Trends in ecology & evolution 2019 v.34 no.9 pp. 818-830
- animals, ecology, epigenetics, evolution, gene flow, physiology, social behavior
- Many animals occur in groups, and the ecology and evolution of populations and species are intrinsically linked to group function and social behaviour. Here we summarise recent data showing that the biotic and abiotic environments can have far-reaching consequences for social behaviour via epigenetic mechanisms that modify physiological processes. The environment affects the physiology of individuals via epigenetic mechanisms and individual physiology influences conspecific interactions. At a higher level of organisation, these conspecific interactions can scale up to social states of groups and affect populations by altering dispersal and gene flow. Future research should focus on determining empirically the range of contexts within which epigenetic mechanisms can heritably alter social interactions and document their effects on populations.