Saturday, November 20, 2021

A Single Transcription Factor Changes Ants to Queens

 Ants in Georgia - Zone Home Solutions - Blog Post

Indian jumping ants are able to adapt to the loss of the queen ant by making a switch to queen-like status in order to keep the colony functional. According to a study done in Cell, this ability to shift into the queen is caused by the response of the Kr-hl transcription factor to hormones which are present in different levels within the queen and the worker ants. Furthermore, another study has shown that these specific ants have the ability to change the size of their brains and expand their glial cells in order to compete for the status of the queen. This shows that studying ants is an effective way to see how "turning off certain genes can affect ingrained patterns of behavior." These researchers have also studied how different hormones activates the Kr-hl transcriptional factor differently in the queen and worker ants. These juvenile hormones have also impacted how ants develop over time. The studies have concluded that there are still many questions that need to be further investigated, but there is a good possibility that these mechanisms can be present in other organisms as well. 

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