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Phylogeny and systematics of the parasite Escovopsis associated with attine ants

Grant number: 13/08338-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2013
Effective date (End): May 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:André Rodrigues
Grantee:Lucas Andrade Meirelles
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/16765-0 - DNA barcoding and biotechnological potential of microfungi associated with leaf-cutting ants, AP.JP
Associated scholarship(s):13/25748-8 - Phylogeny of the mycoparasite Escovopsis associated with higher attine ants, BE.EP.MS


Leaf-cutting ant nests harbor a diverse microbial community, including fungi in the genus Escovopsis. These organisms are considered specific parasites of the fungus cultivated by the ants for food. Few studies have focused on the biology, diversity and evolutionary aspects of the parasite. Here, we aim to explore the diversity of Escovopsis parasites associated with leaf-cutting ants. A collection of 40 strains of the parasite derived from many leaf-cutting ant species collected in different Brazilian biomes will be evaluated using phenotypic and molecular markers. Evolutionary relationships among strains will be inferred using several phylogenetic algorithms. Studies that aim increasing the knowledge about Escovopsis may assist in developing of alternative control methods of these serious agricultural pests, as the current control method is based on the use of chemical insecticides harmful to the environment. Besides to understand the parasite diversity, this proposal will assist in the structuring of national repositories, since DNA sequences from authentic Escovopsis strains will be generated as barcodes. (AU)

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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)
MEIRELLES, LUCAS A.; SOLOMON, SCOTT E.; BACCI, JR., MAURICIO; WRIGHT, APRIL M.; MUELLER, ULRICH G.; RODRIGUES, ANDRE. Shared Escovopsis parasites between leaf-cutting and non-leaf-cutting ants in the higher attine fungus-growing ant symbiosis. ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE, v. 2, n. 9, . (11/16765-0, 13/25748-8, 13/08338-0)
DOS SANTOS, JULIANA A.; VIEIRA, JULIANA M. F.; VIDEIRA, ALEXANDRE; MEIRELLES, LUCAS A.; RODRIGUES, ANDRE; TANIWAKI, MARTA H.; SETTE, LARA D.. Marine-derived fungus Aspergillus cf. tubingensis LAMAI 31: a new genetic resource for xylanase production. AMB EXPRESS, v. 6, . (11/16765-0, 10/17033-0, 13/19486-0, 13/08338-0)
MEIRELLES, LUCAS A.; MCFREDERICK, QUINN S.; RODRIGUES, ANDRE; MANTOVANI, JOANA D.; RODOVALHO, CYNARA DE MELO; FERREIRA, HENRIQUE; BACCI, JR., MAURICIO; MUELLER, ULRICH G.. Bacterial microbiomes from vertically transmitted fungal inocula of the leaf-cutting ant Atta texana. ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY REPORTS, v. 8, n. 5, SI, p. 630-640, . (13/25748-8, 13/08338-0)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
MEIRELLES, Lucas Andrade. Sistemática e filogenia do fungo parasita Escovopsis associado às formigas Attini. 2015. Master's Dissertation - Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp). Instituto de Biociências. Rio Claro Rio Claro.

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