1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The goals of the proposed research are to develop new functional genomic resources for the fire ant Solenopsis invicta and to employ these resources to examine biological traits that are simultaneously important for understanding its basic biology and identifying genes and gene networks that are potential targets for its biological control.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
1) Large-scale EST studies will be performed to significantly increase the breadth and depth of transcriptome coverage using both 454 pyrosequencing as well as traditional Sanger sequencing technology. 2) An oligo microarray platform (Agilent) will be developed for gene expression studies using the EST sequence data. 3) A platform for screening SNPs will be developed using Illumina technology for population genomic and linkage studies. 4) Integrated physical and genetic maps will be generated for S. invicta, which are essential for linking phenotypic traits to the responsible genetic variation. 5) A web-based platform will be developed integrating these data in an easily accessible format.
3. Progress Report
This project is related to Objective 1 of this in-house project: Develop functional genomic resources and employ these resources to examine the genetic basis of biological traits that can potentially be used for biologically based control, including implications for the geographic origins of infestations. The goal of this project is to develop new functional genomic resources for the fire ant S. invicta. The full genome sequence of the fire ant was published in a peer-reviewed journal. In addition, a pilot oligo microarray that provide large numbers of specific gene markers was constructed and used to identify the most appropriate oligo sequences for development of a microarray that includes every potentially transcribed gene region in fire ants. This newly developed array will be used for a number of gene expression studies outlined in proposal, such as genes associated with social structure and other essential functions. Necessary samples for two comparative gene expression studies were collected and archived.