Scientists at New York University's Langone Medical Center have sequenced the genomes of the Florida carpenter ant and Jerdon's jumping ant. Danny Reinberg, the biochemist who led the project, hopes to use the information to study epigenetics - how genes are turned on or off in response to changing conditions. "Ants are extremely social creatures, and their ability to survive depends on their community in a very similar way to humans'," said Reinberg, who is interested in how epigenetics may influence longevity. In some ant colonies, he said, the queen lives 10 times longer than the workers: "Ants seem to be a perfect fit to study whether epigenetics influences behavior and aging."
- Health News Digest