Hymenoptera are a huge insect family, originating in the Late Triassic period (the earth looked really cool at this point). Insects are massively fascinating to me, I spent a great deal of time reading about Paraponera after seeing a mention to them in a NY Times article on Guatemala ( a place I am interested in visiting next spring). Apparently this ant has the most painful sting of any other insect in it’s order. What I found most interesting, was that a phorid fly has the ability to detect (within two to three minutes) when one of the ants is injured, in order to infect that ant with it’s larvae.
When I read things like this, I am often struck with the fact that if these genes are present in nature, what would happen if we could somehow include them in our genome, and then activate them. Almost like spider sense, I wonder if this would be something like isolating green fluorescence protein (GFP) and expressing it in something else – a pretty common act these days.
As well, found a really interesting blog, with a great list for new reading material. I added lots to my wishlist from this post.