Three new ant genomes sequenced and reported in PNAS: Draft genome of the globally widespread and invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile)


Draft genome of the globally widespread and invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile)


Ants are some of the most abundant and familiar animals on Earth, and they play vital roles in most terrestrial ecosystems.

Although all ants are eusocial, and display a variety of complex and fascinating behaviors, few genomic resources exist for them.

Here, we report the draft genome sequence of a particularly widespread and well-studied species, the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), which was accomplished using a combination of 454 (Roche) and Illumina sequencing and community-based funding rather than federal grant support.

Manual annotation of >1,000 genes from a variety of different gene families and functional classes reveals unique features of the Argentine ant's biology, as well as similarities to Apis mellifera and Nasonia vitripennis.

Distinctive features of the Argentine ant genome include remarkable expansions of gustatory (116 genes) and odorant receptors (367 genes), an abundance of cytochrome P450 genes (>110), lineage-specific expansions of yellow/major royal jelly proteins and desaturases, and complete CpG DNA methylation and RNAi toolkits.

The Argentine ant genome contains fewer immune genes than Drosophila and Tribolium, which may reflect the prominent role played by behavioral and chemical suppression of pathogens.

Analysis of the ratio of observed to expected CpG nucleotides for genes in the reproductive development and apoptosis pathways suggests higher levels of methylation than in the genome overall.

The resources provided by this genome sequence will offer an abundance of tools for researchers seeking to illuminate the fascinating biology of this emerging model organism.





Christopher D. Smitha,1,
Aleksey Ziminb,
Carson Holtc,
Ehab Abouheifd,
Richard Bentone,
Elizabeth Cashf,
Vincent Crosete,
Cameron R. Currieg,h,
Eran Elhaiki,
Christine G. Elsikj,
Marie-Julie Faved,
Vilaiwan Fernandesd,
Jürgen Gadauf,
Joshua D. Gibsonf,
Dan Graurk,
Kirk J. Grubbsf,
Darren E. Hagenj,
Martin Helmkampff,
Jo-Anne Holleyl,
Hao Huc,
Ana Sofia Ibarraran Viniegrad,
Brian R. Johnsonm,
Reed M. Johnsonl,
Abderrahman Khilad,
Jay W. Kima,
Joseph Lairdl,
Kaitlyn A. Mathism,
Joseph A. Moellerg,h,
Monica C. Muñoz-Torresj,
Marguerite C. Murphyn,
Rin Nakamuraa,
Surabhi Nigamn,
Rick P. Oversonf,
Jennifer E. Placeka,
Rajendhran Rajakumard,
Justin T. Reesej,
Hugh M. Robertsonl,o,
Chris R. Smithp,
Andrew V. Suarezl,o,
Garret Sueng,h,
Elissa L. Suhrl,
Shu Taoj,
Candice W. Torresm,
Ellen van Wilgenburgm,
Lumi Viljakainenq,
Kimberly K. O. Waldenl,
Alexander L. Wildl,
Mark Yandellc,
James A. Yorker, and
Neil D. Tsutsuim,1
+ Author Affiliations

Departments of aBiology and

nComputer Science, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 94132;

bInstitute for Physical Science and Technology and

rDepartment of Mathematics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742;

cDepartment of Human Genetics, Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84112;

dDepartment of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1B1;

eCenter for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland;

fSchool of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287;

gDepartment of Bacteriology and

hDepartment of Energy Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706;

iThe Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205;

jDepartment of Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057;

kDepartment of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204;

lDepartment of Entomology and

oInstitute of Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801;

mDepartment of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3114;

pDepartment of Biology, Earlham College, Richmond, IN 47374; and

qDepartment of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
Edited* by Gene E. Robinson, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, and approved January 11, 2011 (received for review June 17, 2010)