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Genomic exaptation enables Lasius niger adaptation to urban environments

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, February 2017
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  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (70th percentile)

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4 tweeters
1 Wikipedia page


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54 Mendeley
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Genomic exaptation enables Lasius niger adaptation to urban environments
Published in
BMC Evolutionary Biology, February 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12862-016-0867-x
Pubmed ID

Evgenii A. Konorov, Mikhail A. Nikitin, Kirill V Mikhailov, Sergey N. Lysenkov, Mikhail Belenky, Peter L. Chang, Sergey V. Nuzhdin, Victoria A. Scobeyeva


The world is rapidly urbanizing, and only a subset of species are able to succeed in stressful city environments. Efficient genome-enabled stress response appears to be a likely prerequisite for urban adaptation. Despite the important role ants play in the ecosytem, only the genomes of ~13 have been sequenced so far. Here, we present the draft genome assembly of the black garden ant Lasius niger - the most successful urban inhabitant of all ants - and we compare it with the genomes of other ant species, including the closely related Camponotus floridanus. Sequences from 272 M Illumina reads were assembled into 41,406 contigs with total length of 245 MB, and N50 of 16,382 bp, similar to other ant genome assemblies enabling comparative genomic analysis. Remarkably, the predicted proteome of L. niger is significantly enriched relative to other ant genomes in terms of abundance of domains involved in nucleic acid binding, DNA repair, and nucleotidyl transferase activity, reflecting transposable element proliferation and a likely genomic response. With respect to environmental stress, we note a proliferation of various detoxification genes, including glutatione-S-transferases and those in the cytochrome P450 families. Notably, the CYP9 family is highly expanded with 19 complete and 21 nearly complete members - over twice as many compared to other ants. This family exhibits the signatures of strong directional selection, with eleven positively selected positions in ligand-binding pockets of enzymes. Gene family contraction was detected for several components of the olfactory system, accompanied by instances of both directional selection and relaxation. Our results suggest that the success of L. niger in urbanized areas may be the result of fortuitous coincidence of several factors, including the expansion of the CYP9 cytochrome family due to coevolution with parasitic fungi, the diversification of DNA repair systems as an answer to proliferation of retroelements, and the reduction of olfactory system and behavioral preadaptations from non-territorial subdominant life strategies found in natural environments. Diversification of cytochromes and DNA repair systems along with reduced odorant communication are the basis of L. niger pollutant resistance and polyphagy, while non-territorial and mobilization strategies allows more efficient exploitation of large but patchy food sources.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 54 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Switzerland 1 2%
Unknown 53 98%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 14 26%
Researcher 9 17%
Student > Bachelor 8 15%
Student > Master 5 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 3 6%
Other 5 9%
Unknown 10 19%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 28 52%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 9 17%
Environmental Science 4 7%
Computer Science 1 2%
Neuroscience 1 2%
Other 0 0%
Unknown 11 20%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 5. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 02 July 2017.
All research outputs
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Outputs from BMC Evolutionary Biology
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from BMC Evolutionary Biology
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Altmetric has tracked 17,416,875 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 72nd percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 2,801 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 10.7. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 57% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 370,115 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 70% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 4 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one.