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Symbiotic bacteria tell ant embryos how to develop (quantamagazine.org)
133 points by rbanffy 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments

Wow, this is extraordinary science. They identify the pathway for the bacterial symbiont to control the host's germline cell expression.

Semi-related tangent: Adrian Tchaikovsky's "Children of Time" is first-rate scifi that explores ideas about accelerated evolution and insect intelligence; highly recommended.

Are there symbiotic viruses? Yes!


evolution of symbiosis between two species and the evolutionary arms-race between host-parasites are two of the many intriguing topics of evolutionary biology that never fails to amaze me. Highly recommend reading Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, I've recently finished reading it, it's fascinating.

so cool

especially the mutant developmental genetics that enables this -- the extra germline copies in the embryo to trick the symbiont into the gut area, the early hox expression

and the fact that we can guess that they got this virus by living beside sap-eating insects millions of years ago

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