The genome of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

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Yannick Wurm, John Wang, Oksana Riba-Grognuz, Miguel Corona, Sanne Nygaard, Brendan G Hunt, Krista K Ingram, Laurent Falquet, Mingkwan Nipitwattanaphon, Dietrich Gotzek, Michiel B Dijkstra, Jan Oettler, Fabien Comtesse, Cheng-Jen Shih, Wen-Jer Wu, Chin-Cheng Yang, Jerome Thomas, Emmanuel Beaudoing, Sylvain Pradervand, Volker Flegel & 18 others Erin D Cook, Roberto Fabbretti, Heinz Stockinger, Li Long, William G Farmerie, Jane Oakey, Jacobus J Boomsma, Pekka Pamilo, Soojin V Yi, Jürgen Heinze, Michael A D Goodisman, Laurent Farinelli, Keith Harshman, Nicolas Hulo, Lorenzo Cerutti, Ioannis Xenarios, Dewayne Shoemaker, Laurent Keller

Ants have evolved very complex societies and are key ecosystem members. Some ants, such as the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, are also major pests. Here, we present a draft genome of S. invicta, assembled from Roche 454 and Illumina sequencing reads obtained from a focal haploid male and his brothers. We used comparative genomic methods to obtain insight into the unique features of the S. invicta genome. For example, we found that this genome harbors four adjacent copies of vitellogenin. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that an ancestral vitellogenin gene first underwent a duplication that was followed by possibly independent duplications of each of the daughter vitellogenins. The vitellogenin genes have undergone subfunctionalization with queen- and worker-specific expression, possibly reflecting differential selection acting on the queen and worker castes. Additionally, we identified more than 400 putative olfactory receptors of which at least 297 are intact. This represents the largest repertoire reported so far in insects. S. invicta also harbors an expansion of a specific family of lipid-processing genes, two putative orthologs to the transformer/feminizer sex differentiation gene, a functional DNA methylation system, and a single putative telomerase ortholog. EST data indicate that this S. invicta telomerase ortholog has at least four spliceforms that differ in their use of two sets of mutually exclusive exons. Some of these and other unique aspects of the fire ant genome are likely linked to the complex social behavior of this species.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)5679-84
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Research areas

  • Animals, Ants, Base Sequence, Computational Biology, DNA Methylation, Evolution, Molecular, Expressed Sequence Tags, Genome, Insect, Genomics, Hierarchy, Social, Male, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Receptors, Odorant, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Vitellogenins

ID: 33796023