[Source: ScienceDaily] – By comparing two species of ants, Shelley Berger, PhD, the Daniel S. Och University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues Danny Reinberg, PhD, New York University, and Juergen Liebig, PhD, Arizona State University, have established an important new avenue of research for epigenetics — the study of how the expression or suppression of particular genes affects an organism’s characteristics, development, and even behavior.
Ants, the new model system used in this study, organize themselves into caste-based societies in which most of the individuals are sterile females, limited to highly specialized roles such as workers and soldiers. Only one queen and the relatively small contingent of male ants are fertile and able to reproduce. Yet despite such extreme differences in behavior and physical form, all females within the colony appear to be genetically identical.
For more information: Genome Comparison of Ants Establishes New Model Species for Molecular Research