Rana's odorant receptor paper published

Rana's evolutionary study of the gene family of the odorant receptors (ORs) in ants was published in Genome Biology and Evolution! We found evidence for widespread positive selection following the extensive duplications of ORs in all ant lineages. Positively selected amino acid sites were especially concentrated around the putative ligand binding site, which indicates adaptive evolution of these receptors to recognize more diverse odors. We suggest that ant ORs evolved to recognize new and more diverse vocabulary of pheromones that they use for chemical communication.


BSF grant to study genome evolution

We won a BSF grant together with Jessica Purcell and Alan Brelsford from UC Riverside, and also in collaboration with the GAGA consortium. In this four-year project we will construct genomic maps (linkage maps) for ten formicine species. The same species will have a reference genome sequenced by GAGA. This will allow reconstructing the evolution of chromosomes along the phylogeny and the study of evolution of recombination rate variation along the genome. We will look at aspects of genome evolution related to the evolution of sociality, especially the evolution of social chromosome(s).

Our new robot is at work on its first genomic libraries!

Our new Tecan liquid handling robot is here! It started to learn the TruSeq protocol for constructing genomic libraries. Shani will use it to construct 300 libraries for genomic sequencing of our large population sample from Cataglyphis niger, for our GWAS project. We're still getting to know each other, but it seems we're going to have a wonderful and productive relationship. So we decided to name it נח (Noah).

Here it is in action! - click here to see the video