A 2010 study explains sequencing of the ant genome and it’s fascinating!

Have you ever followed a group of ants on their way to their anthill? Did you notice how disciplined they were and how much strength they had together? An insect that is much larger than you will not scare you! The world of ants is fascinating, and Bernard Werber will not tell you the opposite, he even made a literary trilogy out of it!

But let’s look at a scientific study that was certainly published in Science magazine in 2010, but which raises the question of our social lives that would be shed light by sequencing the ant’s genome … Explanations.

The second sequencing of a genome after the bees!

Dr. Reinberg, professor of biochemistry at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, led this fascinating study. To do this, the researchers sequenced the ant’s genome completely. To try to provide answers to the hyperstructured social behavior of an anthill, but also to try to solve the mystery of their longevity!

According to Danny Reinberg, ants are extremely social beings, but their survival depends on the other members of the colony. Behavior similar to that of humans. And he investigated whether epigenetics affects the aging and behavior of ants.

Epigenetics is the study of the influence of the environment and individual history on genes. And how it is transmitted between generations. Queens live up to ten times longer than workers! Could it be epigenetic?

The conclusions of the researchers

Two species “participated” in this study: Jerdon’s jumping ants and Florida carpenter ants. And here the researchers concluded: “Since all ants in the colony are born with the same genetic code, the various neuronal branches that determine the behavior that corresponds to each social rank must be controlled by epigenetic mechanisms.”

Ants are extremely social beings. Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Ken Griffiths

Remember, ants are born from the same colony with the same DNA. So it is “something else” that affects their social life. Researchers have shown that 20% of ant genes are unique and 33% of their genes are identical to those of humans! The jumping ant has 18,564 genes, the Florida ant has 17,064 and the human 23,000.

And just like humans, war breaks out in the colony when the queen dies until a new queen arrives! The queens would live longer thanks to a chromosome-repairing enzyme that they would be the only one to produce. Of course, we don’t replace a leader this way anymore, but it wasn’t that long ago that we did the same! These animals are fascinating!

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