סודן האפל של נמלי הבונקר הפולני

איל סיפר על הנמלים שחיו שנים בבונקר גרעיני נטוש עד שבאו חוקרים פולנים והצילו אותן, וגם חשפו את סודן האפל. ראיון בתוכנית שלושה שיודעים ברדיו כאן תרבות

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1qdVjOudZlbItJgHtL_lPd2jv2Qy8YoLN

עוד פרטים על הסיפור ההזוי הזה בכתבה של אסף רונאל בהארץ

https://www.haaretz.co.il/science/biology/.premium.highlight-1.8132726

 

Solenopsis antennal transcriptomics paper published

Our paper is online at Ecology and Evolution!

This study was the Ph.D. project of Viet-Dai Dang, at the lab of John Wang. Dai carried out very challenging RNA-seq analyses of the antennae of Solenopsis invicta fire ant workers from different genotype groups of the social chromosome. Amir from our lab contributed to the bioinformatic analysis of these data to identify 81 genes that are differentially expressed between genotype groups. These included 13 genes implicated in chemical metabolism or perception. We were especially interested the differential expression of one odorant receptor (SiOR463) and one odorant binding protein (SiOBP12). We found SiOR463 was deleted in the Sb haplotype of the social chromosome, while SiOBP12 was duplicated in Sb.

Conference season

This year, Eyal and Pnina represented the lab in SMBE and ESEB. Pnina presented a poster on her mutation rate study and Eyal gave a talk on the Solenopsis positive selection study (Mol Ecol 2018). We had lots of great opportunities for hearing excellent talks and interacting with colleagues and collaborators.

Here's a link to the video recording of Eyal's talk (starting on 1:12:00)

https://youtu.be/DSIrbs3_ewo?t=4317

 

Busy times!

Eyal is busy nowadays writing the next ISF grant for continued genomic work in the Cataglyphis social polymorphism system, and the lab is very busy with new projects and revisions of papers. No time to post news now!

Cataglyphis social polymorphism paper published

Our paper is online at Scientific Reports!

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45950-1

This was a collaboration led by Tali Reiner Brodetzki and Abraham Hefetz (TAU) to resolve species delimitation in the Cataglyphis niger complex. Previous studies identified three clades within this species complex: C. niger, C. savignyi, and C. drusus. The three were distinct monophyletic clades according to their mitochondrial haplotypes, and they also display distinct social colony structures: C. niger is polygyne, whereas C. savignyi and C. drusus are monogyne. In this new paper we show using RAD sequencing and population structure analysis of thousands of SNP loci that these three mitochondrial clades are not monophyletic in terms of their nuclear DNA. In fact, there is no detectable genetic divergence among them, and they form one un-differentiated population cluster in the STRUCTURE results:

We also conducted a maximum likelihood test for gene flow (using 3s) and rejected the null model of no gene flow between these clades. That is, there is significant evidence for gene flow between all these populations and between colonies of different social structure. Finally, we show that the spermatheca of polygyne queens with the C. niger mitotype contains mostly sperm with the C. savignyi mitotype. That is, polygyne queens mate mostly with males from monogyne colonies. Therefore, C. niger is one species that harbors a social polymorphism similar to other ants such as Solenopsis invicta and Formica selysi.

We do not know yet if the social polymorphism in C. niger is controlled by a supergene ("social chromosome") as found in the other two systems. C. niger is also distinct in that the social form is completely linked to the mitochondrial lineage. That is, daughter queens always inherit the social form of their mothers. This raises the intriguing possibility of maternal imprinting. It remains to be seen if this system will turn out to be genetically controlled as in the social chromosome systems, or rather epigenetically controlled.

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