Washington: US scientists have mapped the entire genome sequences of two different species of ants for the first time, potentially providinginsight into human ageing and behaviour."Ants are extremely social creatures and their ability to survive depends on their community in a very similar way to humans," said research project leader Danny Reinberg, a professor of biochemistry at New York University Langone."Whether they are workers, soldiers or queens, ants seem to be a perfect fit to study whether epigenetics influences behaviour and ageing."
In comparing the Jerdon`s jumping ant to the Florida carpenter ant, a destructive pest in the southeastern United States, the scientists found that about 20 percent of their genes are unique, while about 33 per cent are shared with humans."In studying the genomes of these two ants, we were fascinated by the different behaviours and different roles that the worker ants develop," said Reinberg. "Since every ant in the colony starts with the same genetic information, the different neuronal connections that specify the behaviour appropriate for each social rank must be controlled by epigenetic mechanisms," he said. AFP