Advances on polyphenism in insects.

Polyphenism denotes that one genome produces two or more distinct phenotypes due to environmental inductions. Many cases have been reported in insects, for example, metamorphosis, seasonal polyphenism, the caste of eusocial insects and so on. Polyphenism is one of the most important reasons for insects to survive and thrive, because insects can adapt and use the environmental cues around them in order to avoid predators and reproduce by changing their phenotypes. Polyphenism has received growing attentions, ranging from the earlier description of this phenomenon to the exploration of possible inducing factors. With the recent advent of the genomic era, more and more studies based on next generation sequencing, gene knockout and RNA interference have been reported to reveal the molecular mechanism of polyphenism. In this review, we summarize the progresses of the polyphenism in insects and envision prospects of future researches.

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