text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
News
design element
News
News From the Field
For the News Media
Special Reports
Research Overviews
NSF-Wide Investments
Speeches & Lectures
NSF Current Newsletter
Multimedia Gallery
Search Multimedia
Image
Video
Audio
More
Multimedia in the News
NSF Executive Staff
News Archive
 

Email this pagePrint this page
Fast-evolving Genes in Fire Ants (Image 3)


Queens from fire ant (<em>Solenopsis invicta</em>) colony prepare to take off on nuptual flight

Queens from a fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) colony prepare to take off on their nuptial flight. A single colony can produce thousands of new queens in a single year. Social insects exhibit a sophisticated social structure. By investigating genome evolution, researchers can explore how social insects produce diverse organismal forms from the same set of genes.

Fire ants were the focus of a study by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, which found that the genes involved in creating different sexes, life stages and castes of fire ants and honeybees evolved more rapidly than genes not involved in these processes. The researchers also found that these fast-evolving genes exhibited elevated rates of evolution even before they were recruited to produce diverse forms of an organism.

"This was a totally unexpected finding because most theory suggested that genes involved in producing diverse forms of an organism would evolve rapidly, specifically because they generated developmental differences," said Michael Goodisman, an associate professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech. "Instead, this study suggests that fast-evolving genes are actually predisposed to generating new developmental forms."

The project was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant DEB 06-40690).

To learn more, see the Georgia Tech Research News story Organism Diversity: Fast-Evolving Genes Control Developmental Differences in Social Insects. (Date of Image: 2005-10) [Image 3 of 3 related images. Back to Image 1.]

Credit: Eric A. Hoffman and Michael A. D. Goodisman

General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (1.7 MB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.

 



Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page