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Transcriptomics and Speciation in Ants of the Genus Atta (Formicidae: Attini)

Grant number: 11/06367-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2012
Effective date (End): February 28, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Mauricio Bacci Junior
Grantee:Cynara de Melo Rodovalho
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:06/58043-3 - Leaf cutting ants control, integrated studies, AP.TEM


The understanding of mechanisms leading to the biological diversity is a fundamental issue in evolutionary biology. The arising of a new species is a process called speciation, which is powered by biological, environmental and geographic factors. Atta laevigata and A. sexdens are species of leaf-cutting ants which are considered pests for agriculture. Analyses in morphology, molecular phylogeny and population genetics suggest three groups reproductively isolated and partially sympatric within A. sedens and two groups within A. laevigata, each of these groups being probably distinct species. Recent speciation in these ants makes them an opportune study model for the searching of genes leading to reproductive isolation and thus underlying the process of speciation, the so-called "speciation genes". In the present research project we will search for speciation genes using next generation transcriptomics, a procedure which determines nucleotide sequence and relative amounts of all transcripts within an organism. This technique will allow us to determine mutations and gene expression differences disconnecting groups within A. sexdens or A. laevigata and to characterize the role of these genes in the speciation process.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
RODOVALHO, CYNARA DE MELO; LYRA, MARIANA LUCIO; FERRO, MILENE; BACCI, JR., MAURICIO. The Mitochondrial Genome of the Leaf-Cutter Ant Atta laevigata: A Mitogenome with a Large Number of Intergenic Spacers. PLoS One, v. 9, n. 5, . (11/06367-8)

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