Nestled within the twisting fungus gardens of leaf-cutter ants exists a complex symbiotic web that has evolved over millions of years. Now, with the help of a major genomic sequencing grant from Roche Applied Science, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be able to analyze these interactions at the molecular scale….
As winners of Roche Applied Science’s 10 Gigabase Grant Program, UW-Madison and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) scientists [Cameron] Currie, Steven Slater and Garret Suen will be part of a team that will use Roche technology to sequence the known members of the ant-fungus symbiosis, which includes three ant genomes and 14 ant-associated fungal and bacterial genomes….
Most of the DNA samples to be sequenced will come from Currie’s UW-Madison lab, which is also investigating how the leaf-cutter ants break down large amounts of cellulose as part of their work with the GLBRC….
The Joint Genome Institute, another Department of Energy laboratory, will be assisting with both sequence analysis and educational efforts.
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