Red fire ant Solenopsis invicta - the most dangerous representatives of the ant family. They have a powerful sting, and the action of their venom like a bad burn with fire. Colonies of these ants can be of two types: one queen or hundreds. An international team of scientists from France, Britain, the U.S. and Taiwan decided to find out what is the basis for selection of S. Invicta of a strategy of social behavior. Researchers scanned the genomes of more than half a thousand red ants, causing found they had a "social" chromosome.
Scientists have found that the social organization of ants depends on the structure of a chromosome that carries one of the two options "supergene" (groups of related genes). This set consists of 600 genes in complex regulatory relationships of insects. Two variants of chromosomes are different mutations in different genes.
Researchers have identified chromosome ants letters B and b. They note that these chromosomes developed as well as the human X and Y, although structurally different from them differ. If the worker ants in a colony are native only to the chromosome, they will be one queen, which will have a chromosome set explosives, and the other contestants will be killed. If the workers present chromosome b, then they will agree to take a lot of queens with a set of chromosomes Bb.
Previously, scientists have found that these differences in the structure of chromosomes affect the shape of the wings of butterflies and the appearance of cancer in humans. Now, for the first time found "supergene", in charge of social behavior.