Genetic analyses – Department of Biology - University of Copenhagen

Social Evolution > CSE Research > Our toolbox > Genetic analyses

Our genetic analyses often use DNA microsatellites to estimate the kin-structure of colonies, or use sequenced mitochondrial and nuclear genes to reconstruction phylogenetic trees. For genotyping clones of domesticated fungi, we also use amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP), which produce crude genome-wide profiles. Although relatively simple, a combination of these techniques often gives quite good resolution for establishing whether or not species are reproductively isolated and whether samples of insects contain cryptic species.

What are they used for?

We use genetic analyses to answer questions such as:

  • How many males have colony queens mated with?
  • How many queens breed in a single colony and how related are they?
  • How is genetic variation distributed across colonies and local populations?
  • What are the most likely phylogenetic relationships between taxa (genera, species, forms) of interest?
  • What are the demographics of populations of interest (migration rates, effective population sizes, historical population sizes)


Bacterial symbionts; Formica Wood ants; Fungus-growing ants; Honey bees; Large Blue butterflies; Lycaenid butterflies; Megalomyrmex ants; Myrmica ants; Pathogenic fungi; Pharaoh ants; Symbiotic fungi; Army ants; Carpenter ants; Garden ants; Pachycondyla ants