" We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." - Dissent from Darwin

Natural selection [is used] carelessly as a mantra, as in the evidence-free “just-so stories” concocted out of thin air by mentally lazy adaptationists. (Stephen Jay Gould)

In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence. (Isaac newton)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How ANT learnt to cheat

Social groups are vulnerable to cheating because the reproductive interests of group members are rarely identical. All cooperative systems are therefore predicted to involve a mix of cooperative and cheating genotypes, with the frequency of the latter being constrained by the suppressive abilities of the former. The most significant potential conflict in social insect colonies is over which individuals become reproductive queens rather than sterile workers. Here, we show that one-fifth of leaf-cutting ant patrilines cheat their nestmates by biasing their larval development toward becoming queens rather than workers. Just as evolutionary theory predicts... The rarity of royal cheats is best explained as an evolutionary strategy to avoid suppression by cooperative genotypes, the efficiency of which is frequency-dependent. The results demonstrate that cheating can be widespread in even the most cooperative of societies and illustrate that identical principles govern social evolution in highly diverse systems.

Storyteller: Dr Bill Hughes from Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences
Genetic royal cheats in leaf-cutting ant societies
Royal Corruption Is Rife In The Ant World

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read that post. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more soon.