Saturday, March 18, 2017

Gene-Modified Ants Show How Societies Are Organized

In the article named, Gene-Modified Ants Shed Light on How Societies Are Organized, it is explained how scientists manipulated the DNA of ants in the laboratory to study how they work in their own society. These scientists are also hoping that ants turn into a model organism just like Drosophila are. Ants are good at taking over disturbed habitats. Also, the ant’s colonies are easy to manipulate. When their genes are modified, these genes are easy to keep track of which makes them another reason to become a model organism. Technology paved a great way for science. Especially in this case. The researches color coordinate certain types of ants which are modified and allow them for the computer to keep track of their movements every second of the day. This is incredible. The purpose of doing this experiment is stated by Dr. Kronauer, “Our ultimate goal is to have a fundamental understanding of how a complex biological system works.” Ants social behaviors are amazing for not being able to physically talk. Scientists wonder how they communicate so well in their society and this might lead to some discoveries. Also, you might be wondering what good does this do for humans. The ants in their colonies are similar to neurons in the brain. I know this might seem bizarre. But, both the brain and ants have synchronized labor. It is much easier to manipulate ants than brain cells which is which ants are acting as the model organism. This research can reveal secrets about human disease such as why cancer cells ignore signals. Also, in the article Dr. Kronauer explains, “We could learn something fundamental about autism and depression along the way.” Personally, I think this is wonderful and can be a life changing experiment for humans. It takes curiosity and dedication to discover new things. I hope scientists do not give up on researching into this because rather than having lab rats and lab mice, which are great, we have a different animal which they can study other aspects that the other animals did not have. Humans are in a society like these ants are. Some actions that the ants do in their society can also be explained as to why humans interact the way they do with one another. I am excited to see where this experiment goes in ten or so years. 

1 comment:

  1. I never thought that ants could one day be considered for use as a model organism. Just like the Drosophila ants would be inexpensive and easy to maintain.