Screening of Multiple Potential Control Genes for use in Caste and Body Region Comparisons Using RT-qPCR in Coptotermes formosanus


  • Matthew R Tarver United States Department of Agriculture
  • Christopher Mattison ARS-USDA Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research
  • Christopher B Florane ARS-USDA Formosan Subterranean Termite Research Unit
  • Doug J Hinchliffe ARS-USDA Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research Unit
  • Dunhua Zhang ARS-USDA Formosan Subterranean Termite Research Unit
  • Alan R Lax ARS-USDA Formosan Subterranean Termite Research Unit



Formosan subterranean termites, Coptotermes formosanus, are a significant worldwide pest. Molecular gene expression is an important tool for understanding the physiology of organisms. The recent advancement of molecular tools for Coptotermes formosanus is leading to the advancement of the understanding of termite physiology. One of the first steps in analyzing gene expression is the normalization to constant reference genes. Stable reference genes that have constant expression across multiple treatments are important for accurately comparing target genes' expression. The objective of this investigation was to analyze and validate a set of potential reference genes including 8S

rRNA; Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (Gadphd); ribosomal protein L7 (RPL); β-actin (BA1); α-tubulin (Atube); α-actin (Aactin); and elongation factor (Elong) as standards for analysis of transcriptional changes in the termite Coptotermes formosanus, across two phenotypic castes, body regions, and colonies. We also compared the expression of hexamerin-1 and 2 using stable and unstable reference genes to demonstrate the importance of consistent control genes. Our results demonstrate that 18S and RPL can serve as reliable expression standards when comparing these different castes and body regions, and we show that C. formosanus Hex-1 and Hex-2 have expression patterns similar to that previously described in R. flavipes.


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How to Cite

Tarver, M. R., Mattison, C., Florane, C. B., Hinchliffe, D. J., Zhang, D., & Lax, A. R. (2014). Screening of Multiple Potential Control Genes for use in Caste and Body Region Comparisons Using RT-qPCR in Coptotermes formosanus. Sociobiology, 59(1), 81–95.