Learn More
Fungus-growing (attine) ants and their fungal symbionts passed through several evolutionary transitions during their 50 million year old evolutionary history. The basal attine lineages often shifted between two main cultivar clades, whereas the derived higher-attine lineages maintained an association with a monophyletic clade of specialized symbionts. In(More)
BACKGROUND Leaf-cutting (attine) ants use their own fecal material to manure fungus gardens, which consist of leaf material overgrown by hyphal threads of the basidiomycete fungus Leucocoprinus gongylophorus that lives in symbiosis with the ants. Previous studies have suggested that the fecal droplets contain proteins that are produced by the fungal(More)
Sex determination in honeybees (Apis mellifera) is governed by heterozygosity at a single locus harbouring the complementary sex determiner (csd) gene, in contrast to the well-studied sex chromosome system of Drosophila melanogaster. Bees heterozygous at csd are females, whereas homozygotes and hemizygotes (haploid individuals) are males. Although at least(More)
BACKGROUND Leaf-cutting ants live in symbiosis with a fungus that they rear for food by providing it with live plant material. Until recently the fungus' main inferred function was to make otherwise inaccessible cell wall degradation products available to the ants, but new studies have shed doubt on this idea. To provide evidence for the cell wall degrading(More)
Organisms have evolved a bewildering diversity of mechanisms to generate the two sexes. The honeybee (Apis mellifera) employs an interesting system in which sex is determined by heterozygosity at a single locus (the Sex Determination Locus) harbouring the complementary sex determiner (csd) gene. Bees heterozygous at Sex Determination Locus are females,(More)
Fungus gardens of the basidiomycete Leucoco-prinus gongylophorus sustain large colonies of leaf-cutting ants by degrading the plant material collected by the ants. Recent studies have shown that enzyme activity in these gardens is primarily targeted toward starch, proteins and the pectin matrix associated with cell walls, rather than toward structural cell(More)
Eusocial insects have evolved the capacity to generate adults with distinct morphological, reproductive and behavioural phenotypes from the same genome. Recent studies suggest that RNA editing might enhance the diversity of gene products at the post-transcriptional level, particularly to induce functional changes in the nervous system. Using head samples(More)
The genera Atta and Acromyrmex are often grouped as leaf-cutting ants for pest management assessments and ecological surveys, although their mature colony sizes and foraging niches may differ substantially. Few studies have addressed such interspecific differences at the same site, which prompted us to conduct a comparative study across six sympatric(More)
BACKGROUND Attine ants live in symbiosis with a basidiomycetous fungus that they rear on a substrate of plant material. This indirect herbivory implies that the symbiosis is likely to be nitrogen deprived, so that specific mechanisms may have evolved to enhance protein availability. We therefore hypothesized that fungal proteinase activity may have been(More)