Antibiotic resistance – one of the biggest threats to global health, according to the World Health Organization – occurs when germs learn how to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. The problem of resistance threatens the efficacy of antibiotics, making simple infections untreatable.
A unique study conducted by University of Georgia entomologists led to the discovery of a distinctive supergene in fire ant colonies that determines whether young queen ants will leave their birth colony to start their own new colony or if they will join one with multiple queens. Researchers also found that ants were more aggressive toward queens who don’t possess the supergene, causing colony workers to kill them. This critical finding opens the door to new pest control methods that may be more efficient in eradicating problematic fire ant colonies.
The CAES newswire features the latest popular science and lifestyle stories relating to agricultural, consumer and environmental sciences as well as UGA Extension programs and services around the state.