© Pnina Cohen

Insect societies are a unique model system for investigating the genetic and evolutionary mechanisms at the basis of animal sociality. Relative to vertebrates, insect social behavior is more mechanistic so it may be easier to find its genetic basis. We study social evolution in ants using genomic tools: next generation sequencing technologies and computational analysis of molecular evolution. 2011 was the year of the genomic revolution for ant research, when first seven species were sequenced and published. We used to know close to nothing about the genes of ants and suddenly full genomes are being published. Since, high quality genomic sequences were obtained from hundreds of species across the ant phylogeny. These genomic sequences allow us to compare different species and look for the genes responsible for the evolution of sociality in ants. Furthermore, dramatic advances in sequencing technologies allow genomic sequencing of hundreds of individuals from specific ant populations for focused studies on the recent evolution of social traits in systems such as “social chromosomes” in Solenopsis fire ants, wood ants from the genus Formica, and our local Cataglyphis desert ants. We use these genomic metholologies to investigate the evolutionary basis of fundamental phenomena in sociobiology, such as pheromone signaling responsible for nestmate recognition in Cataglyphis niger.


Hosting ISEB 2023

The 4th meeting of the Israeli Society of Evolutionary Biology was hosted by the Institute of Evolution, co-organized by Eyal Privman and Eran Tauber. About

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Back from sabbatical!

Eyal is back from the one year sabbatical in London where he refined his expertise in Bayesian population genomics and the art of luggage packing.

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