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Genome-wide expression analyzes of the Solenopsis invicta social model

Grant number: 14/04943-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2014
Effective date (End): May 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics
Principal Investigator:Maria Cristina Arias
Grantee:Natália de Souza Araujo
Supervisor abroad: Yannick Wurm
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : Queen Mary University of London, England  
Associated to the scholarship:12/18531-0 - Expression of genes involved in social behavior in bees with different levels of eusociality, BP.DR


Evolution of cooperative and altruistic behaviours have been important topics in evolutionary biology for years. The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is a remarkable model for such studies because in this species two distinct forms of social organization co-exist. According to the allele frequency of the pheromone-binding gene Gp-9, it is possible to predict the colony queen number. In homozygous Gp-9 BB colonies, workers only accept a single queen (monogyne), whereas colonies containing also the Gp-9 Bb workers accept multiple queens (polygyne) with a Gp-9 b allele. The study of this important biological model through the RNA-Seq technique will provide relevant information about how each genotype responds to their environment. Therefore, in the current proposal, we will use this approach to compare the transcriptome profile of different ant species and genotypes within distinct social systems (monogyne and polygyne colonies). Through this methodology, it will be possible to better understand the extension of the Gp-9 haplotype effect and to detect whether genes not described before may also be involved in these social behaviour. (AU)