Scientists Identify & Characterize Over 20 Odorant/Pherome Receptors in Ants

Queen ants spend most of their time having babies. To reign supreme in a colony, the queens exude a special scent, or pheromone, on the waxy surface of their body that suppresses ovary development in their sisters, rendering the latter reproductively inactive workers that find food, nurse the young, and protect the colony. Now, researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have begun to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying how ants sense these pheromones and how they control reproduction regulation and other social activities in ant communities. The research, published on August 17, 2017 in Nature Communications, highlights how ants use olfactory receptors to distinguish between colony members so they can work together in a complex, hierarchical society. The open-access article is titled “Specialized Odorant Receptors in Social Insects That Detect Cuticular Hydrocarbon Cues and Candidate Pheromones.”
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