Draft genome of the red harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus

Chris R. Smith, Christopher D. Smith, Hugh M. Robertson, Martin Helmkampf, Aleksey Zimin, Mark Yandell, Carson Holt, Hao Hu, Ehab Abouheif, Richard Benton, Elizabeth Cash, Vincent Croset, Cameron R. Currie, Eran Elhaik, Christine G. Elsik, Marie Julie Favé, Vilaiwan Fernandes, Joshua D. Gibson, Dan Graur, Wulfila GronenbergKirk J. Grubbs, Darren E. Hagen, Ana Sofia Ibarraran Viniegra, Brian R. Johnson, Reed M. Johnson, Abderrahman Khila, Jay W. Kim, Kaitlyn A. Mathis, Monica C. Munoz-Torres, Marguerite C. Murphy, Julie A. Mustard, Rin Nakamura, Oliver Niehuis, Surabhi Nigam, Rick P. Overson, Jennifer E. Placek, Rajendhran Rajakumar, Justin T. Reese, Garret Suen, Shu Tao, Candice W. Torres, Neil D. Tsutsui, Lumi Viljakainen, Florian Wolschind, Juergen Gadau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


We report the draft genome sequence of the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. The genome was sequenced using 454 pyrosequencing, and the current assembly and annotation were completed in less than 1 y. Analyses of conserved gene groups (more than 1,200 manually annotated genes to date) suggest a high-quality assembly and annotation comparable to recently sequenced insect genomes using Sanger sequencing. The red harvester ant is a model for studying reproductive division of labor, phenotypic plasticity, and sociogenomics. Although the genome of P. barbatus is similar to other sequenced hymenopterans (Apis mellifera and Nasonia vitripennis) in GC content and compositional organization, and possesses a complete CpG methylation toolkit, its predicted genomic CpG content differs markedly from the other hymenopterans. Gene networks involved in generating key differences betweenthe queenandworker castes (e.g.,wingsandovaries) showsignatures of increasedmethylation and suggest that ants and bees may have independently co-opted the same gene regulatory mechanisms for reproductive division of labor. Gene family expansions (e.g., 344 functional odorant receptors) and pseudogene accumulation in chemoreception and P450 genes compared with A. mellifera and N. vitripennis are consistent with major life-history changes during the adaptive radiation of Pogonomyrmex spp., perhaps inparallel with the development of the North American deserts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5667-5672
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 5 2011


  • Chemoreceptor
  • De novo genome
  • Eusociality
  • Genomic evolution
  • Social insect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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