Faculty list

Dr. John Wang

Assistant Research Fellow
Ph.D. Stanford University
Research Fields
Social insect behavior, evolution, genetics, and genomics. Nematode genome evolution.
Major Research Achievements (2010-2014)
  • Social biology and behavior involve interesting and complex interactions between individuals. For the fire ant, we generated and characterized the first, large-scale cDNA library and microarray which has been used by myself and others to study social behavior, development, aging, pathogen infection, and interspecies hybridization. Using microarrays, I demonstrated the first example of a naturally occurring polymorphic Mendelian element that affects gene expression in other group members. We have also produced a draft assembly of the fire ant genome.
  • In my other study organism, C. elegans, I have initiated a project on genome evolution. Genome size changes rapidly during evolution, with those of multicellular eukaryote species varying across four orders of magnitude. We showed for the first time that variation in homologue size of autosomes may affect genome size in nematodes.
Research Interests
  • Genetics, genomics, behavior, and evolution of social insects.
  • Evolution of genome size in nematodes.
    Ongoing projects
    • The molecular genetic basis for division of labor and sex determination in ants.
    • Genomic analysis of the selfish supergene in fire ants.
    • The mechanism underlying non-independent assortment of chromosomes in nematodes.
    • We are currently recruiting people of various levels (students, research assistants and postdocs) who are interested in our research area.
      Publications (2008-2014)
      1. Nipitwattanaphon M, Wang J, Dijkstra MB, Keller L, 2013, “A simple genetic basis for complex social behaviour mediates widespread gene expression differences.”, Molecular ecology, 22(14), 3797-813. (SCI) (IF: 6.275; SCI ranking: 7.4%,13.1%,12.8%)
      2. Wang J, Wurm Y, Nipitwattanaphon M, Riba-Grognuz O, Huang YC, Shoemaker D, Keller L, 2013, “A Y-like social chromosome causes alternative colony organization in fire ants.”, Nature, 493(7434), 664-668. (SCI) (IF: 38.597; SCI ranking: 1.8%)
      3. Stock M, Croll D, Dumas Z, Biollay S, Wang J, Perrin N, 2011, “A cryptic heterogametic transition revealed by sex-linked DNA markers in Palearctic green toads.”, JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, 24(5), 1064-1070. (SCI) (IF: 3.479; SCI ranking: 22.1%,36.2%,34.8%)
      4. Wurm Y*, Wang J, Riba-Grognuz O, Corona M, Nygaard S, Hunt BG, Ingram KK, Falquet L, Nipitwattanaphon M, Gotzek D, Dijkstra MB, Oettler J, Comtesse F, Shih CJ, Wu WJ, Yang CC, Thomas J, Beaudoing E, Pradervand S, Flegel V, Cook ED, Fabbretti R, Stockinger H, Long L, Farmerie WG, Oakey J, Boomsma JJ, Pamilo P, Yi SV, Heinze J, Goodisman MA, Farinelli L, Harshman K, Hulo N, Cerutti L, Xenarios I, Shoemaker D, Keller L, 2011, “The genome of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.”, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 108(14), 5679-5684. (SCI) (IF: 9.737; SCI ranking: 7.1%)
      5. Wang J.*, Chen P-J., Wang G.J., and Keller L. (2010) Chromosome Size Differences May Affect Meiosis and Genome Size. Science 329:293 (IF: 29.75)
      6. Wurm Y., Wang J., and Keller L. (2010) Changes in reproductive roles are associated with widespread changes in gene expression in fire ants. Mol. Ecol. 19:1200-11. (IF: 5.96)
      7. Wurm Y., Uva P., Ricci F., Wang J., Jemielity S., Iseli C., Falquet L., Keller L. (2009) Fourmidable: a database for ant genomics. BMC Genomics 10:5. (IF: 3.76)
      8. Wang J.*, Ross, K.G., and Keller L. (2008) Genome-wide Expression Patterns and the Genetic Architecture of a Fundamental Social Trait. PLoS Genet. 4(7), e1000127. (IF: 9.53)
      9. Wang J.*#, Jemielity, S.#, Uva P., Wurm Y., Gr?ff J. and Keller L. (2007) An annotated cDNA library and microarray for large-scale gene expression studies in the ant Solenopsis invicta. Genome Biol. 8(1), R9. (# equal contribution) (IF: 6.63)
      10. Wurm Y., Wang J., Keller L. (2007) Behavioral genomics: A, bee, C, G, T. Curr. Biol. 17(2), R51-3. (IF: 10.99)