Complex phenotypes frequently have shared physiological mechanisms, but determining the underlying genetic regulation continues to be a challenge. The long-term research goal of the ICE Network is to understand the genetic and physiological regulation of the overwintering phenotype in solitary and social bees. Overwintering, also called diapause, is hypothesized to be regulated by a shared genetic “tool kit.” Identifying this tool kit has been hindered because insects have diverse overwintering strategies and there are few opportunities for close comparisons between species with sequenced genomes. Using three species of bee that use different ecological approaches to overwintering and combining expertise from genetic to ecological levels, the ICE Network is uniquely poised to successfully investigate the genome to phenome trajectory of overwintering.
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