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Nature & Environment

Scientists turn ants into 'supersoldiers'

By T.K. Randall
January 8, 2012 · Comment icon 12 comments



Image Credit: sxc.hu
A team of researchers has been able to turn developing ant larvae in to a new 'supersoldier' caste.
The ants conventionally have two castes - a solider caste and a worker caste, but by manipulating the developing larvae it was possible to produce a third caste of supersoldiers. The breakthrough research has revealed that not only can this be done in ants but that it may be possible to unlock similar hidden traits in other species as well.
All ant colonies are made up of insects of different "castes", including soldiers and workers. This team worked out how to "trick" developing ant larvae to turn into a rare and unusual supersoldier caste.


Source: BBC News | Comments (12)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by EdenKane 11 years ago
wtf. I saw the same movie, something about a hotel construction, maybe? And ever since I am totally grossed out by ants. Ugh, those giant heads. Bad, bad idea. I live too close to Long Island
Comment icon #4 Posted by Xanthurion2 11 years ago
why?
Comment icon #5 Posted by aquatus1 11 years ago
Didn't the **EDIT** idiots learn that messing with nature is dangerous! Africanized honey bees anyone? **Mind the language, Bulveye.** Well, asides from the unexpected migration, the Africanized honey bees do actually produce more honey, and do not require much different treatment than regular honey bees.
Comment icon #6 Posted by aquatus1 11 years ago
why? Ah, yes, the infamous "Why?", the perfect question to ask, if honestly asked. The reason why is simply because it is the most efficient means of discovering the genetic connections in a given species. Chimeras are a treasure trove of data regarding DNA and its functions, and learning how they work in one species gives us direct paths to learning how to make them work in other species. A small tweak that allows a worker ant to turn into a massive soldier ant may hold the key to helping an fetus with an anemic disposition or calcium deficiency grow into a healthy child. And, on the plus sid... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by reggie2011 11 years ago
why? because luke i am ur father,that and were growing up just like our parents the annunaki..aww how sweet
Comment icon #8 Posted by Xanthurion2 11 years ago
Ah, yes, the infamous "Why?", the perfect question to ask, if honestly asked. The reason why is simply because it is the most efficient means of discovering the genetic connections in a given species. Chimeras are a treasure trove of data regarding DNA and its functions, and learning how they work in one species gives us direct paths to learning how to make them work in other species. A small tweak that allows a worker ant to turn into a massive soldier ant may hold the key to helping an fetus with an anemic disposition or calcium deficiency grow into a healthy child. And, on the plus side, we... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by aquatus1 11 years ago
Well, I was speaking more generally, but yeah, the reaction in one species isn't necessarily going to be the same in another species. It will, however, give us a direction to look.
Comment icon #10 Posted by farandaway 11 years ago
We have enough trouble dealing with the little buggers we have now. Some things are better left alone. I will never forgive the little beasties for going after my COFFEE CUP. They must be stopped....
Comment icon #11 Posted by Muenzenhamster 11 years ago
why? "Dr Abouheif now has high hopes for the light that this has shed on the mechanism of evolution. He says that unlocking desirable ancestral features could be key to breeding crop plants with higher nutritional value or even tackling the mechanisms that cause cancer." -cut & pasted from the article.
Comment icon #12 Posted by The Unseen 11 years ago
Im all for it, If It is going towards a new direction for finding a cure for cancer then by all means Yes,I know some of you think it's another way for someone to make a super ant but that is not what they are doing,It is leading to a new way to find a key in human DNA to reverse the gene that causes cancer,they only just now found a way to be able to open something that nature closed down proving that it is also most likely able to shut a gene down too "CANCER GENE",better to use an ant than a monkey or human first ya know what I mean.


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