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SYMbiosis, Microbiota and immUNITY

SYMbiosis, Microbiota and immUNITY

Objective

Symbiosis and sociality define the evolutionary success of life, but the large-scale synergy between hosts and microbiotas is poorly understood. New phylosymbiotic approaches aim to understand how and why hosts have evolved in association with microbiota that track and shape host ecologies. At present it is virtually unknown whether and where clear phylosymbiotic signatures of coevolution exist. In principle, microbiota can either track the phylogenetic diversification or the biogeography of hosts. The former would imply that phylosymbiotic trees are largely homologous, while the latter would induce convergent evolution and be more informative about habitat-specific adaptations. Social insects are interesting targets for phylosymbiotic analysis because microbiomes combine functions of nutrient supplementation, individual immunity and colony-level immunity. This applies most explicitly to the ants, which have huge species diversity (>14,000 species), massive ecological footprints (dominant in biomass in most terrestrial ecosystems), and high diversity in life styles (e.g. predatory, omnivory, herbivory, aphid husbandry, fungus farming). The ants also have a unique variety of glands to produce antibacterial compounds that may interact with microbiota, and some lineages have domesticated antibiotics-producing bacteria. I propose to assemble and analyze metagenomic data for 50 ant species (covering 15 subfamilies) exploiting a grand sampling initiative by the Global Ant Genomics Alliance (GAGA, antgenomics.dk) to understand: 1) The evolutionary and functional dynamics of homologous or analogous microbiota across the family Formicidae (ants), and 2) the functional adaptations that have shaped immune defenses across the ant subfamilies and genera.
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Coordinator

KOBENHAVNS UNIVERSITET

Address

Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn

Denmark

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 212 194,80

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 798017

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 March 2019

  • End date

    28 February 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 212 194,80

  • EU contribution

    € 212 194,80

Coordinated by:

KOBENHAVNS UNIVERSITET

Denmark