Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Social Chromosome in Fire Ants Allows for More Than One Queen
Nearly every science fiction flick offers the same solution when the heroes have to bring down an entire predatory alien race's social structure: Remove the matriarch and the rest will fall. No problem for them since -- advanced weaponry and flame throwers aside -- there's only a single queen to contend with, while us schmucks on Earth are left fighting a losing battle against a relentless foe governed by more than one ruling matriarch. Okay, maybe our endless war against the menace of red fire ants isn't as grandiose as those seen in the movies, but that isn't to say that their being ruled by a council of queens doesn't leave the human race vexed. Although red fire ants typically allow for only one female ant in the proverbial seat of power, some carry chromosomes that make them open minded to the idea of having more than individual bossing them around. Thanks to recent research, we just might be able have this genetic trait work to our advantage. Hear that, you ant bastards, we're coming for you!Read on...