Dr. Hugo Darras

I am interested in understanding the origin and evolution of alternative reproductive systems in ants. My research is currently focused on two different model species: Paratrechina longicornis and Cataglyphis ssp..

Molecular evolution in the double-clonal longhorn crazy ant
The longhorn crazy ant Paratrechina longicornis has evolved a remarkable "double-clonal" genetic system. Queens are clones of their mother, males are clones of their father, and workers are produced sexually through the union of queen and male genomes. Hence, the genomes of queens and males no longer recombine and evolve as separate entities similar to sex chromosomes. We are taking advantage of this unusual system to study how selection shapes the evolution of genes involved in sex differences. This project is conducted in collaboration with Michael Goodisman and Karl Glastad.

Social hybridogenesis in Cataglyphis desert ants
Several species of Cataglyphis desert ants have evolved a peculiar breeding system called "social hybridogenesis". Under this system, two divergent genetic lineages coexist within a species. Workers develop from hybrid crosses between lineages, whereas queens and males are produced by parthenogenesis and carry only the maternal genome. Each lineage depends on the alternate lineage for worker production as queens mated with males of their own lineage fail to produce worker offspring. We use various approaches including population genetics, phylogeography and comparative genomics to dissect the origin and evolution of this genetic system. This project is conducted in collaboration with Serge Aron.

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