One or multiple ant queens? The genetic architectures underlying convergent evolution of a fundamental social trait

Profile Display Name:

Emeline Favreau

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2015 (Cohort 2)

Research interests:

Evolution, bioinformatics, genomics, social insects.
I sampled ants, extracted and prepared their DNA, analysed the whole genome for variants.

Hobbies and interests:
PhD Project
PhD Title

One or multiple ant queens? The genetic architectures underlying convergent evolution of a fundamental social trait

Research Theme

Evolution and Adaptation

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution



Extensive studies have shed light on the morphologies, behaviours and evolutionary contexts of social insects, but understanding which genes are involved in social evolution is only now becoming possible. The 10,000- fold drop in DNA sequencing costs since 2007 enabled us first to identify genes linked to the complex social behavior of the invasive red fire ant (PNAS 2011) and more recently to discover that a pair of social chromosomes determines social structure in fire ant colonies (Nature 2013).

The project will examine the interplay between social evolution and genome evolution, ideally combining cutting-edge sequencing, genomics and bioinformatics approaches with fieldwork and laboratory experiments. Exact details of the project will depend on the student’s interests. The project will involve close work with the supervisors, collaborators and other members of the immediate research group and department.

This research will address fundamental evolutionary questions related to social evolution.

Outputs may impact pest control research (identification of targets) and genomics research on other organisms (bioinformatics scripts).

Policy Impact
Background Reading
  • A Y-like social chromosome causes alternative colony organization in fire ants
  • Grants and awards
    • QMUL PostGraduate Research Fund – QMUL
    • Travel Grant – North West Section of IUSSI
    • Conference Participation Fund – The Royal Entomological Society
    • Travel Grant – The Royal Society of Biology
    • Junior Scientist Conference Grants – The Genetics Society
    • Junior Scientist Conference Grants – The Genetics Society

    Blog Interview Interview. Contributors: Patrick KrapfA day in the life of … Interview. Contributors: The Biologist

    Conferences and Workshops
    • IUSSI Brazil 2018 (August 2018). Talk
    • Evolution conference. Talk
    • 50th Population Genetics Group Meeting. Talk
    • North-West section of IUSSI Winter Meeting. Talk
    • .
    Social Links
    University Departmental Website:
    Personal Website:


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