HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Ant agriculture: 50 million years of success

Fungus-growing ants practice agriculture and have been doing so for the past 50 million years according to research published in the Jan. 17 issue of Science. These ants not only grow fungus gardens underground for food but also have adapted to handling parasitic "weeds" that infect their crops.

The team of scientists who collaborated on this analysis includes Ted Schultz of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Bess Wong of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Cameron Currie and Alison Stuart of the University of Kansas, Stephen Rehner of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ulrich Mueller of the University of Texas at Austin, Gi-Ho Sung and Joseph Spatafora of Oregon State University, and Neil Strauss of the University of Toronto.

"The ants, garden fungi, and weeds have all been co-evolving since ant agriculture first got started -- that's around 50 million years of symbiosis," said Dr. Ted Schultz, research entomologist in the Entomology Section of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

By studying DNA sequences from ants, garden fungi and fungal weeds, the research team was able to peer millions of years into the past to see how this co-evolutionary system evolved. The researchers learned that the ants, their garden fungi and the parasitic fungal weeds have been living in a co-evolved, complex system for a very long time, probably 50 million years or longer. During that time, they have been locked in a never-ending evolutionary "arms race," in which the ants and garden fungi are perpetually evolving new ways to control the parasitic fungal weeds, and the weeds are perpetually developing new ways to continue to infect fungus gardens.

There is a fourth factor in the ant colonies, a kind of bacteria that the ants cultivate on the outsides of their bodies. These bacteria produce an antibiotic that specifically suppresses the growth of the weed fungi, and the ants use this antibiotic to keep
'"/>

Contact: Michele Urie
urie.michele@nmnh.si.edu
202-786-2950
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
17-Jan-2003


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. UT Southwestern receives $1.78 million grant for obesity research as part of NIH Roadmap initiative
2. Half-million dollar landmark achieved for the Methuselah Mouse Prize
3. HHMI, NIBIB/NIH to invest up to $35 million in interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs
4. Northeastern University receives $12.4 million NSF grant for creation of nanomanufacturing institute
5. $2.7 million grant to support creation of virtual zebrafish atlas
6. Tufts University establishes $4 million dollar tissue engineering resource center
7. PNNL lands $10.3 million NIH biodefense contract to unlock proteomes of salmonella and pox
8. $18 million bioinformatics center to become weapon against deadly diseases
9. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory gets $10 million from NIH to build virtual lung
10. University of Pittsburgh receives $10 million grant for head and neck cancer
11. UCR earns $1.5 million grant to examine how engineered crop genes stray

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/1/2019)... ... 01, 2019 , ... Geneious would like to announce it is extending the ... NTI. , Geneious Prime already has a dedicated importer for Vector NTI Advance ... files will be organised in Geneious in the same way. The next update ...
(Date:2/27/2019)... ... February 26, 2019 , ... Circulomics is launching the Short Read Eliminator ... long-read sequencing library preparation. , This kit enhances long-read sequencing read lengths by ... DNA is not damaged and recovered with high efficiency. Short DNA up to 25 ...
(Date:2/22/2019)... ... February 20, 2019 , ... As ... medicine, the traditional line between engineering and medical science grows ever thinner. As ... the medical device industry is making medical practice easier for doctors, more effective ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/5/2019)... ... March 05, 2019 , ... San Fransisko, or Sisko for ... him at four years old to pursue a career in dressage. According to ... most talented horse that she’d ever worked with. Unfortunately, Sisko suffered an injury ...
(Date:3/4/2019)... , ... March 04, 2019 , ... Stay on top of current hot topics through ... to all webinars is free, so be sure to register today to save your place! ... to see our upcoming webinars: , CLINICAL TRIALS, , March 20 ...
(Date:2/27/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Superior Controls, Inc., a leading Life Sciences ... on both the east and west coasts, today announced that employee Nathan Sandmaier, ... Sandmaier, a senior project engineer, joins Taggart McCormick, P.E., Anthony Whitesell, P.E., and ...
(Date:2/22/2019)... ... February 20, 2019 , ... Murrieta Genomics , the ... rapidly growing NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) field, have announced a partnership to bring ... "As an innovation center and idea incubator, we are always looking for new ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: