A unique DNA replication cluster has been discovered in hysterical male greyhound ants

about the episode

Invasive Greyhound Ants – in English Yellow crazy ant Perhaps because of the hysterical movements they make when disturbed – researchers all over the world have been baffled.

Not because of those wild moves, but because of her genes. The males of this ant seem to carry two different sets of DNA. They are of two types. This diploid is sometimes more common in other animals, but is usually a mistake. This may have been the case with this ant before, but now it is an essential part of its existence.

This discovery solves a mystery that has been studied for 15 years. Usually, ants reproduce via male fertilization of eggs, or via asexual reproduction, in which only one of the parents participates: the queen. Female ants are usually born from fertilized eggs, males from an unfertilized variety.

But in 2007, researchers discovered that male yellow-crazy ants have mixed genes, as if they were made by the parents. Six years later, it was discovered that all the queens in the colony belonged to the same genetic lineage, but that the colony’s worker ants came from an entirely different lineage.

Among the males, they found that some of the males were relatives of the queen and some of them were relatives of the workers. It would make sense if there were two males in the colony, but they didn’t see it. Even when they studied cells from males, they found only one set of genes per cell. But… when they compared different cells in the same ant with each other, they suddenly found cells with a different second genome.

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This story doesn’t stop there, but the sequel is a bit complicated. Possessing male ants in this way is unique to biology. Most researchers agree. In addition, it raises a lot of new questions. Those who wish to dig deeper will find links to articles online with audio, at the bottom of the text.

Read more about research: The strange genomes of mad ants are the first biological genome. or here: Male ants have two separate sets of DNA.

Megan Vasquez

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