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The Ant Chromosome database – ACdb: an online resource for ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) chromosome researchers

Cardoso, D.C., Santos, H.G. & Cristiano, M.P.


Abstract: Ants are an important and diverse natural insect group exhibiting astonishing variation in chromosome number and structure. Their haploid chromosome numbers range from n = 1 to n = 60 and include diverse karyotypes comprising various different types of chromosome. This marked variation first attracted attention over 40 years ago, and has led to several theories concerning the evolution of chromosome change and the manner in which it may have promoted and contributed to ant species diversification. Despite the significance of ants, their chromosome numbers have been only sporadically documented and assembled. We present here the Ant Chromosome database – ACdb (www.ants.ufop.br), which was conceived as a regularly updated online tool for rapid access to data regarding ant karyology. ACdb is an easy-to-use database which will advance the accession and dissemination of cytogenetic knowledge of the Formicidae. At present, it contains 1080 entries of chromosome and karyotype data for 520 named species from 134 genera in 11 subfamilies. Basic information on karyotypes and chromosome numbers is provided, along with relevant karyotype formulae, which summarize chromosomal structure. ACdb highlights the challenge to ant cytogeneticists to improve the available chromosome knowledge of the Formicidae. Chromosome counts are still lacking in several subfamilies and many genera, while banding data are unavailable for most ant species. We trust that the database will inspire efforts to improve cytogenetic knowledge of these significant insects.