Sequencing of 2nd draft genome for Cataglyphis niger with GAGA

We recently sent for publication the first draft genome for Cataglyphis niger, which was done by Tal using high-coverage (>100X) Illumina sequencing of a single haploid male. This draft genome was rather complete (>90% BUSCO) but quite fragmented (N50=18Kb). This is because we had only short-insert paired-end libraries. The service provider failed to deliver the long-insert mate-pair libraries we ordered. We also tried 10X sequencing, but the assembly was not much better then Tal's assembly (even they can't explain why!).

So now we did Pacbio sequencing through the GAGA consortium. The results were not optimal: 7Kb average read length, 2 million reads (50X coverage). We're looking into the possible causes (extraction?), and we will probably try again. But already with these data we got a dramatic improvement in N50 size - from 18Kb to 160Kb. It wasn't easy to achieve this assembly, and we finally did that by combining all the different types of sequencing data in a hybrid assembly approach by SPAdes.

נמלים לוקחות חופשת מחלה

התפרסם מחקר מהמעבדה של לורן קלר בשוויץ שהראה שנמלים שנדבקות במחלה מרחיקות את עצמן משאר חברותיהן, ובכך מצמצמות את הסיכון להתפשטות המחלה בקן. הארץ פרסם כתבה על המחקר

וזה הלינק למאמר המדעי

איל התראיין בנושא בערוץ 11 אצל יעקב אחימאיר, וגם בתכנית שלושה שיודעים אצל דודו ארז ברדיו כאן תרבות

Amir's paper on social chromosome ORs published

Amir's study of the odorant receptors (ORs) on the fire ant social chromosome was published in Genome Biology and Evolution:

We discovered a cluster of 23 ORs in the supergene that determines the social form of Solenopsis invicta colonies. Many of these genes are the results of recent duplications in the fire ant lineage. Most strikingly, two of them were deleted in the Sb haplotype (th variant found in polygyne colonies). This is the most dramatic mutation discovered to date, which differentiates the Sb and the SB haplotypes. This makes these genes great candidates for explaining the difference between the two social forms, especially the discrimination of queen genotypes based on olfactory cues.

IUSSI conference in Brazil

This year we had the most important meeting for ant researchers - the international conference of the IUSSI that takes place only once every four years. This time the conference was hosted by the Brazilian section of IUSSI. We met with many hundreds of social insect researchers in a very nice seaside resort close to São Paulo. Pnina and Eyal represented the lab, and presented results on the population genomic study of Solenopsis fire ants (by Pnina), the behavioral/genetic study of social information transfer in tandem running ants (by Daphna), and the evolutionary study of the Juvenile Hormone Esterases in trophallaxis fluid (by Amir in collaboration with Adria LeBoeuf). There was lots of great social insect science and lots of interactions with colleagues and friends, for both collaboration and fun!

Here are some great photos (by Pnina, of course) of some amazing Brazilian ants from that region: