Ants are an emerging model system for neuroepigenetics, as embryos with virtually identical genomes develop into different adult castes that display diverse physiology, morphology, and behavior. Although a number of ant genomes have been sequenced to date, their draft quality is an obstacle to sophisticated analyses of epigenetic gene regulation. We reassembled de novo high-quality genomes for two ant species, Camponotus floridanus and Harpegnathos saltator. Using long reads enabled us to span large repetitive regions and improve genome contiguity, leading to comprehensive and accurate protein-coding annotations that facilitated the identification of a Gp-9-like gene as differentially expressed in Harpegnathos castes. The new assemblies also enabled us to annotate long non-coding RNAs in ants, revealing caste-, brain-, and developmental-stage-specific long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in Harpegnathos. These upgraded genomes, along with the new gene annotations, will aid future efforts to identify epigenetic mechanisms of phenotypic and behavioral plasticity in ants. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Journal: Cell reports