Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gene-Modified Ants Shed Light on How Societies Are Organized


This article details the experiment performed by biologist, Daniel Kronauer of Rockefeller University. Kronauer and his colleagues want to have a fundamental understanding of how a complex biological system works, and to do this, he conducted a model-scale with ants. He considers ants in their colonies to function like cells in a multi-cellular organism, or like neurons.Ants are used because they are easily manipulated, unlike neurons in the brain. Kronauer and his team painted thousands of clonal ants with bright colors for distinction purposes, and decided to explore the origin and evolution of animal societies. Kronauer deletes and edits the ants's genes to observe their responses and furthermore adds neurochemicals to see where the signaling molecules are present in the brain. With Kronauer's experiment, there is a possibility of learning fundamental insights to human diseases, such as autism. The research continues as Kronauer searches for more findings.

In my opinion, I found this article to be interesting. He is able to study ant colonies in ways similar to human cells. With Kronauer studying the neuromodulators that makes ants sensitive to their environment, he is on the road to possibly discovering why certain individuals are autistic and have social problems. This sounds like a great article for psychology major to read.


  1. I really appreciate you posting such article. I would have never imagine of ant colonies in similar ways of a human cell. After reading the article, I understand the connection.

  2. Ant's are really amazing creatures! I saw a video of what maybe was hundreds of fire ants that stayed balled up together even as the researcher picked them up and tried to separate them.

  3. The idea that a large number of ants can act and behave as a single organism is a very interesting concept. Another fascinating aspect of this article is that this research could possibly result in why certain individuals have autism or social issues. Needless to say, this research could have extremely beneficial results if the research continues this optimistically.