Academy of Finland
Funding decision
 
Name Helanterä, Heikki
Organisation HY
Project title
Genomic consequences of low relatedness in ant societies
Decision No. 135970
Decision date 13.04.2010
Funding period 01.08.2010 - 31.07.2015
Funding 391 510
WebFOCUS Report
Project description
Our aim was to study caste specific gene expression in queen and worker ants. Our results showed that caste specific expression patterns are highy variable among even closely related species, and among life stages within species. Caste specificity of genes is intricately linked to genes functioning as co-expressed modules, which may strongly limit which genes may evolve caste specific functions. Against our working hypothesis, caste specificity as such had no influence on evolutionary rates of genes, whereas modular gene function, and the evolutionary constraints it reflects, are more important determinants of evolutionary rates. Our results highlight the need for both a species comparative approach, and the importance of ecological context sensitivity in understanding genetic regulation of quen and worker castes.