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Differential Gene Expression in Red Imported Fire Ant (<i>Solenopsis invicta</i>) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Larval and Pupal Stages

Allen, Margaret L., Rhoades, Joshua H., Sparks, Michael E., Grodowitz, Michael J.
Insects 2018 v.9 no.4
RNA interference, Solenopsis invicta, control methods, data collection, digestion, gene expression, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, larvae, pesticides, pupae, social insects, transcriptome, trophic levels, Southeastern United States
Solenopsis invicta Buren is an invasive ant species that has been introduced to multiple continents. One such area, the southern United States, has a history of multiple control projects using chemical pesticides over varying ranges, often resulting in non-target effects across trophic levels. With the advent of next generation sequencing and RNAi technology, novel investigations and new control methods are possible. A robust genome-guided transcriptome assembly was used to investigate gene expression differences between S. invicta larvae and pupae. These life stages differ in many physiological processes; of special importance is the vital role of S. invicta larvae as the colonies&rsquo; &ldquo;communal gut&rdquo;. Differentially expressed transcripts were identified related to many important physiological processes, including digestion, development, cell regulation and hormone signaling. This dataset provides essential developmental knowledge that reveals the dramatic changes in gene expression associated with social insect life stage roles, and can be leveraged using RNAi to develop effective control methods.