I absolutely wish this was a Photoshop. But it’s not. That, friends, is a real ant. Fortunately, you won’t find it in nature, but the only step this man-made mutation involves is encouraging genes the ant already possesses into expressing themselves… with horrifying results.
By using hormones to activate certain dormant genes in the ant genus Pheidole, Dr Rajendhran Rajakumar from McGill University in Montreal, with help from colleagues at the University of Arizona, triggered the development of these so-called “super soldier” ants with massive mandibles. The punchline? The ants have everything they need in their genome to become super ants. They’re instant mutants — you just have to add water (well, hormones in this case).
I simply cannot imagine what it would feel like to be bitten by one of these guys.
According to the Daily Mail, the ants would use their giant heads to block the entrance to their nest and munch on anything that attempted to get past.
I had no idea the future of gene expression would involve nightmare fuel like this, but there you go. We should only expect more of this as science continues to march onwards.
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Images: Daily Mail