"Ants, Sex Chromosomes, and Social Evolution" by Dr Laurent Keller

Past Event

17 February 2014, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

This seminar is hosted by the Programme on Mind and Machine, an Oxford Martin School Programme and The Centre for Neural Circuts and Behaviour

Speaker: Dr Laurent Keller, Director, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne

Summary: The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is characterized by a social polymorphism. In the monogyne social form colonies always contain a single queen, whereas polygynous colonies contain numerous queens. The two social forms differ in many other important aspects of their biology, including the level of aggression between colonies and how new colonies are initiated. These important behavioural differences are also associated with a suite of morphological and life-history differences, including queen fecundity, their tendency to accumulate fat during sexual maturation, the odour of mature queens, the number of sperm produced by males, and the size of workers. In this talk I will show that all these differences are mediated by a pair of heteromorphic chromosomes that have many of the key properties of sex chromosomes.

For more information please contact Fiona Woods, fiona.woods@cncb.ox.ac.uk