Ant raids: It’s all in the genes

Certain ants attack and enslave other species, and integrate their offspring into their own colonies in order to survive. Researchers at the Senckenberg Nature Research Society and the University of Mainz recently discovered that the raids required to achieve this are controlled by different genes in each of several closely related ant species of the genus Temnothorax. This indicates that the evolution of closely related species through changes in the genetic material is a random process in which several paths may lead to the same outcome. Moreover, the researchers were able to identify two specific attack genes in slavemaker ants. The study was recently published in “Scientific Reports.” (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)