Genomics – Department of Biology - University of Copenhagen

Genomics covers a range of different methods, based on large scale sequencing on Illumina or 454 Roche platforms and providing genome-wide information on structural genes and (after comparison with other genomes) the putative functions of genes. Sequenced genomes offer a complete catalogue of all genes present in an organism, their exact DNA sequences, and their methylation patterns. Transcriptomic studies of species that have a sequenced reference genome can clarify the level at which genes are expressed under specific circumstances, and proteomics can determine which proteins are ultimately being produced. Finally, metagenomic sequencing can be used to identify the cumulative genes contributed by an entire community of organisms, usually communities of bacteria.

What is it used for?

The DNA sequencing technologies outlined above are increasingly used across most research programs of CSE, and most prominently for research on fungus-growing ants and termites and their fungal and bacterial symbionts. This includes the microbial communities associated with the guts and cuticles of these social insects. Studies of genes involved in sperm competition and storage, fungal gene function mediating enzyme production, immunity and other defences against disease, and genomic imprinting are also increasingly being carried out. These studies also include other ant species such as Myrmica red ants and some invasive ants, asking whether their special social organisation has implications at the genomic level.

Organisms

Bacterial symbiontsFungus-growing ants; Fungus-growing termitesLarge Blue butterflies; Lycaenid butterflies; Megalomyrmex ants; Myrmica antsSymbiotic fungiGarden ants