Darwin in his time wondered about the existence of ants - how can natural selection as a process based on individual reproductive success give rise to sterile individuals such as ant workers? The solution comes from kin selection theory, which holds that an individuals reproductive success can also be measured in the number of collateral kin produced. This is how the ants have solved the problem. In an ant colony with only one queen all the workers are her offspring and will in practice help to raise their siblings, which are genetically as valuable to them as own offspring.
However, colonies with multiple reproductively active queens occur commonly in ants. As a result workers will also be raising the more distantly related offspring, produced by queens other than their own mother. This dilutes the genetic returns from the help the workers provide. By selectively favouring offspring of the queen of closest kin, the workers can, however, partly mitigate this loss and more efficiently propagate their genes to the next generation. Because it is the workers who raise the brood they also have the opportunity to favour closer kin and disfavour (e.g. eliminate) more distant kin. Such nepotism har not been demonstrated before in ants.
Professor Liselotte Sundström and scientist Minttumaaria Hannonen from the University of Helsinki studied black ants and found out that kin does matter, and relatedness is a matter of discrimination. Their article is published in Nature, 27th of February, 2003.
Minna Meriläinen | alfa
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences