Office location: Multi-Purpose Building, room 216
Insect societies are a unique model system for investigating the genetic and evolutionary mechanisms at the basis of animal sociality. Relative to vertebrates, insect social behavior is more mechanistic so it may be easier to find its genetic basis. We study social evolution in ants using genomic tools: next generation sequencing technologies and computational analysis of molecular evolution. 2011 was the year of the genomic revolution for ant research. We used to know close to nothing about the genes of ants and suddenly full genomes are being sequenced for exponentially increasing numbers of species. These genomic sequences allow us to compare different species and look for the genes responsible for the evolution of social behavior and sociobiological traits in ants. Furthermore, recent dramatic advances in sequencing technologies allow us to use whole genome sequencing of many individuals as a routine tool for focused studies on the recent evolution of social traits in specific systems such as the “social chromosome” of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta or the pheromone signaling responsible for nestmate recognition in Cataglyphis desert ants.
Specific research interests:
- Mapping the genes responsible for nestmate recognition pheromones in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of Cataglyphis drusus ants
- Genomic surveys of genes undergoing adaptive evolution in invasive Solenopsis fire ants
- Identifying the genetic regulation of social information transfer among Camponotus sericeus workers using transcriptomic sequencing
- Privman E.ǂ, Penn O.ǂ, and Pupko T. 2012. Improving the performance of positive selection inference by filtering unreliable alignment regions. Molecular Biology and Evolution,29: 1-5.
- Privman E., Wurm Y., Keller L. 2013. Duplication and concerted evolution in a master sex determiner under balancing selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society B,280: 20122968.
- Roux J., Privman E., Moretti S., Daub J.T., Robinson-Rechavi M., Keller L. 2014. Patterns of positive selection in seven ant genomes. Molecular Biology and Evolution,31: 1661-1685.
- Privman E., Cohen P., Cohanim A.B., Riba-Grognuz O., Shoemaker D., Keller L. 2018. Positive selection on sociobiological traits in invasive fire ants. Molecular Ecology 27: 3116-3130.
- Saad R., Cohanim A.B., Kosloff M., Privman E. Neofunctionalization in ligand binding sites of ant olfactory receptors. Genome Biology and Evolution, 10: 2490-2500.
- Cohanim A.B., Amsalem E., Saad R., Shoemaker D., Privman E. Evolution of olfactory functions on the fire ant social chromosome. Genome Biology and Evolution, 10: 2947-2960.
- LeBoeuf A.C., Cohanim A.B., Stoffel C., Brent C.S., Waridel P., Privman E.ǂ, Keller L.ǂ, Benton R.ǂ Molecular evolution of juvenile hormone esterase-like proteins in a socially exchanged fluid. Scientific Reports, 8: 17830.
- Yahav T. and Privman E. Haploid or diploid DNA? A comparative analysis of methods for de novo assembly of hymenopteran genomes. Scientific Reports, 9: 6480.
- Cohen P. and Privman E. Speciation and hybridization in invasive fire ants. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19: 111.
- Dang V.D.,. Cohanim A.B., Fontana S., Privman E., Wang J. 2019. Has gene expression neofunctionalization in the fire ant antennae contributed to queen discrimination behavior? Ecology and Evolution, 9: 12754-12766.
- Inbar S.ǂ, Cohen P.ǂ, Yahav T., and Privman E.Comparative study of population genomic approaches for mapping colony-level traits. PLoS Comp Biol, in press.