Science manage to double the size of experimental ants

Science manage to double the size of experimental ants

A team of scientists in Canada have said that they have managed to double the size of experimental ants after they analysed how environment affects the size of the animals.

Ehab Abouheif of McGill University's evolutionary and developmental biology lab and co-author of the study, said that studied ant colonies and analysed why some ants of the same species were bigger than others. Abouheif worked with fellow researchers, including McGill geneticist Moshe Syzf to study how environments affected the size of ants.

The researchers collected samples of the social insects from several ant colonies. They found that the size of the animals depended uponhow much a single gene known as EGFR had been "coated" by a chemical process called methylation. They said that about 70 per cent of size differences between individual ants was a result of how heavily methylated the gene was on a statistical basis. The team then manipulated the methylation of that one gene and were able to grow ants that were twice as big or half the size of normal, which ranges from 1.6 to 2.5 millimetres long.

"We used to think that traits like size that fall along a continuum were controlled by many, many, many genes, each having a small role, with the environment having a smoothing-out role. What we've found is something quite fundamental - by putting a coat on a single gene, you can generate that whole continuum in size. You get this chemical coating on the gene that modifies the way the gene works. You don't need any changes in the gene," said Abouheif.


User login



You May Have Missed...

John Kerry can redefine climate disaster assistance for endangered communities t
Fri, 04/24/2015 - 12:15

The Arctic is the world’s distant early warning system for climate change. The North Pole will be the first and potentially hardest hit by...


Nigeria Update

Fresh Polio Cases lead to WHO Travel Restrictions on Pakistan and Syria
Tue, 05/06/2014 - 00:45

World Health Organization has slapped international travel restrictions on Pakistan, Cameroon...


Economy Watch

Forecasts of China’s Economic Growth and Consumer Inflation for 2015 revised dow
Wed, 06/10/2015 - 12:28

Owing to increased downward pressure on economic growth, economists at China's central bank have...


Health Tonight

Sierra Leone continues to battle Ebola
Mon, 06/29/2015 - 10:42

Health experts have said that the authorities in Sierra Leone are continuing to battle the...


Science Tonight

Governor David Ige’s Veto Meeting involves discussion on current happenings in M
Wed, 07/01/2015 - 14:24

The current situation on Mauna Kea was also a topic for discussion in Governor David Ige's veto...


UK News

University student creates cookery kit to cook insects
Fri, 05/15/2015 - 01:51

AnEdinburgh student has developed a cookery kit in order to encourage people to eat insects,...


Pharmaceuticals

Brazil tests new dengue vaccine successfully
Tue, 11/04/2014 - 13:46

A team of medical experts in Brazil has tested a new dengue vaccine, which was successful in...


US News

Kentucky Clerk Refuse to Issue Same-Sex Marriage License Even After the Supreme
Fri, 07/03/2015 - 13:21

Four Kentucky couples sued a Kentucky county clerk for refusing to issue gay-marriage licenses....


Technology Tonight

Apple trying to ensure greater performance standards from its older devices
Sat, 05/23/2015 - 08:31

In what apparently is somewhat of a 'back to basics' move by US tech giant Apple, the company...