Invited Seminar at CES on 21 May 2024 at 3:00 pm titled " About supergenes that build supercolonies" by Aparna Lajmi from

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About supergenes that build supercolonies
Aparna Lajmi
Date & Time: 
21 May 2024 - 3:00pm
Event Type: 
Invited Seminar
CES Seminar Hall, 3rd Floor, Biological Sciences Building
Before the talk

Convergent evolution of traits is a common feature across the tree-of-life. However, only certain taxonomic groups repeatedly evolve a specific suite of traits and very little is known about why this is not widespread. In ants, one such complex trait is polygyny (multiple-queen colonies) which has evolved repeatedly from an ancestral phenotype of a monogyne(single-queen colony).  Polygyny results in large supercolonies made up of unrelated workers and several behavioural, morphological, and life history modifications. I will talk about my postdoctoral work examining the genomic basis of such a trait in the desert ants from Israel, where both these traits are found in a single population. I find that differences in the number of queens is associated with the presence of a supergene, a large non-recombining region of a chromosome that codes for a complex trait, much like a sex chromosome. I then discuss how this supergene is inherited, maintained, and possibly introgressed into other lineages. Finally, we look at how conserved this region is and hypothesize about the genomic basis for repeated evolution of such traits.