Ant Brain Complexity Revealed for First Time at Cellular Level Using Single-Cell Technology

International researchers led by scientists at China’s BGI-Research used single cell technology to study the brains of ants, showing for the first time how the social division of labor within ant colonies is reflected in the functional specialization of their brains at cellular levels. In a study, “A Single-Cell Transcriptomic Atlas Tracking the Neural Basis of Division of Labour in an Ant Superorganism,” published June 16, 2022 in Nature Ecology & Evolution, scientists from BGI Group’s BGI-Research, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and others, applied BGI’s DNBeLab single cell library platform to obtain more than 200,000 single-nucleus transcriptomes from pharaoh ant brains and constructed a single-cell transcriptome map covering all adult phenotypes of this ant species: workers, males, gynes (virgin queens), and queens.

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