May help keep workers from illicit, royalty-threatening reproduction
Silencing one gene for a day weakens the grip a termite queen has on her throne. Or at least lets loose a lot of worrisome butting behavior among her subjects.
Lab colonies of the Australian termite Cryptotermes secundus started acting out as if their queen were dead when researchers disabled her Neofem2 gene, Judith Korb of the University of Osnabrück in Germany and her colleagues report in the May 8 Science. Thus Neofem2 could be the first gene