UK Daily Mail
January 6, 2012
Nightmarish ‘supersoldier’ ants with huge heads and jaws have been created by activating ancient genes.
Scientists believe the monster ants may be a genetic throwback to an ancestor that lived millions of years ago.
Scientists say they can create the supersoldiers at will by dabbing normal ant larvae with a special hormone – the larvae then develop into supersoldiers rather than normal soldier or worker ants.
Authors Dr Rajendhran Rajakumar, from McGill University, Canada, and colleagues wrote: ‘We uncovered an ancestral development potential to produce a novel supersoldier subcaste that has been retained throughout a hyperdiverse ant genus that evolved 35 to 60 million years ago.’