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Researchers Control Ants Using Epigenetic Drugs

Update Date: Jan 04, 2016 11:24 AM EST
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Scientists feel that they have the key to manually alter behavior, after reprogramming the minds of ants, according to the Daily Mail.

Instead of using either pocket watches or hypnosis, University of Pennsylvania scientists used a scientific approach to find the secrets.

By rewriting genes within the ants, scientists have gauged their "foraging behaviour", explains their research.

With the help of epigenetics, which changes or alters genes without altering the DNA sequence, researchers could change the "caste specific behaviors of ants", according to HNGN.

Interestingly, ant societies segregate themselves into diverse caste systems, each having different duties. Minors in each colony are given chemicals to make them forage. "The results suggest that behavioral malleability in ants, and likely other animals, may be regulated in an epigenetic manner via histone modification," said Daniel F. Simola, postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study.

Scientists changed the epigenetic chemicals, or acetyl groups on the histone protein complexes, which altered ant behavior dependent on their fixed positions in the ant colony.

The experiment is innovative and might enable humans too to impact animal or human behaviour.

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