Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ants Turned Into 'Supersoldiers'

Ants can be programmed to become "supersoldiers", according to an international team of researchers. And so can humans!

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.

The breakthrough, the researchers say, reveals that hidden traits could be unlocked in many species.

The findings are published in Science.

Dr Ehab Abouheif from McGill University in Montreal led the team, which found that treating ant larvae with a hormone at a very specific time during their development turned those ants into the giant supersoldiers.

The scientists managed to achieve this in two ant species that do not "naturally" have the supersoldier caste as part of their colony.

Read more here

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