Table of Contents
Insects, Volume 10, Issue 4 (April 2019) – 35 articles
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Cover Story (view full-size image) Plant biomass breakdown by fungus-growing termites is a tripartite cooperation that involves [...] Read more. Plant biomass breakdown by fungus-growing termites is a tripartite cooperation that involves synergistic enzyme contributions from the mutualistic fungus Termitomyces, diversified gut microbial communities, and the insect hosts, enabling the decomposition of nearly any plant component. While numerous studies have explored the use and processing of plant biomass by these termites, we lack a comprehensive understanding of this complex process, particularly in comparisons across the evolutionary history of the association. We propose that a combination of omics tools, enzyme assays, laboratory experimentation, and field observations is a promising avenue to improve our understanding of how traits have established and evolved over the 30 million years of evolutionary history of the symbiosis, leading it to become a dominant decomposers in the Old World (sub)tropics. View this paper