Scientists Create Supersoldier Ants

One has to ask: can anything good come out of this? Via PhysOrg:

There are over 1100 species of Pheidole genus ants, and most individual ants belong to either the worker or soldier caste. In only eight of the Pheidole species, some individuals can belong to a “supersoldier” subcaste instead, and these ants fight off predatory army ant species and bar their way by blocking off the entrances to the nest using their over-sized heads. Now, scientists have managed to create supersoldiers in other species by reactivating ancestral genes.

supersoldier ant

The international team of scientists, led by Dr Ehab Abouheif of the Department of Biology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, looked at the genomes of two ant species that produce supersoldiers. They identified the genetics behind the supersoldier caste and were able to activate the genes by treating ant larvae with methoprene, a growth hormone. As expected, the ant larvae became supersoldiers.

They then treated in the same way larvae of Pheidole morrisi, an ant species which lives in New York and that does not normally produce supersoldiers, but which lead author, Dr Abouheif, had previously noted produced large-headed ants resembling supersoldiers on rare occasions. The treated larvae grew to become large headed and jawed ants resembling supersoldiers. The same effect was produced in two other Pheilode species, which are not known to produce supersoldiers…

[continues at PhysOrg]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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40 Comments on "Scientists Create Supersoldier Ants"

  1. justagirl | Jan 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

    what a regrettably large head you have.  i should very much like to hat it.

  2. justagirl | Jan 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm |

    what a regrettably large head you have.  i should very much like to hat it.

  3. justagirl | Jan 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

     i have a bit of a lisp.  he he.

  4. Toxiczen | Jan 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

    no nothing bad will come from this… :/

  5. Toxiczen | Jan 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm |

    no nothing bad will come from this… :/

  6. Anarchy Pony | Jan 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm |

    What is this? Scientists do stupid things that will likely backfire horribly week?

  7. Anarchy Pony | Jan 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

    What is this? Scientists do stupid things that will likely backfire horribly week?

  8. Nunzio X | Jan 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |

     Huh.

    Well, off topic maybe, but perhaps not:

    You know where cousins come from? Aunt holes.

    Thanks. I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip the wait staff.

  9. Nunzio X | Jan 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

     Huh.

    Well, off topic maybe, but perhaps not:

    You know where cousins come from? Aunt holes.

    Thanks. I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip the wait staff.

  10. Isnt that just buggy Elephantitis?

  11. Isnt that just buggy Elephantitis?

    • dude, just read some stuff on your blog, even that whole long-ass conversation,
      you’re cool as fuck man, too bad I can’t like PM you here

  12. Silly pony: That’s every week!

  13. Anarchy Pony | Jan 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

    I stand corrected.

  14. this is all a by product of the socialist jew run media that’s been pumped into our children’s heads from day one.

    also, homo.

  15. this is all a by product of the socialist jew run media that’s been pumped into our children’s heads from day one.

    also, homo.

    • Jin The Ninja | Jan 7, 2012 at 12:59 am |

      yes, that is EXACTLY the analysis this article was lacking…..insert eye roll (here)

  16. DeepCough | Jan 7, 2012 at 1:39 am |

    They warned us about this! IN MOVIES!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AOspwNxjtE

  17. DeepCough | Jan 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm |

    They warned us about this! IN MOVIES!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AOspwNxjtE

  18. Anonymous | Jan 7, 2012 at 4:48 am |

    Why aren’t they growing bigger penises already. I mean uh, not that I want one. Just saying

  19. Why aren’t they growing bigger penises already. I mean uh, not that I want one. Just saying

  20. Jin (仁) | Jan 7, 2012 at 4:59 am |

    yes, that is EXACTLY the analysis this article was lacking.

  21. Trying to control the future
    is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.
    When you handle the master carpenter’s tools,
    chances are that you’ll cut yourself.
    Tao Te Ching #74b

  22. BuzzCoastin | Jan 7, 2012 at 8:02 am |

    Trying to control the future
    is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.
    When you handle the master carpenter’s tools,
    chances are that you’ll cut yourself.
    Tao Te Ching #74b

  23. If the human genome was modified after birth to grow a big skull, would the brain grow to take advantage of the new space? 

    By the way, probably no accident that the head of the supersoldier ant looks like a dickhead.

  24. If the human genome was modified after birth to grow a big skull, would the brain grow to take advantage of the new space? 

    By the way, probably no accident that the head of the supersoldier ant looks like a dickhead.

  25. If the same effect was produced in two other species that are not known to produce supersoldiers, then wouldn’t they not be supersoldiers? Just some ant’s with souped up pituitary glands(assuming ant’s have those lol)

  26. If the same effect was produced in two other species that are not known to produce supersoldiers, then wouldn’t they not be supersoldiers? Just some ant’s with souped up pituitary glands(assuming ant’s have those lol)

  27. dude, just read some stuff on your blog, even that whole long-ass conversation,
    you’re cool as fuck man, too bad I can’t like PM you here

  28. Hah, just long winded rantings of a madman. You can always comment on the articles though,they’re rare enough that i tend to respond to them.

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