PLoS Biology Podcast Episode 03 - Social Immunization in Ants

Public Library of Science on April 03, 2012 21:06

Ecology
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In this months episode of the PLoS Biology Podcast, PLoS Biology Editor Ruchir Shah interviews Sylvia Cremer, who is an evolutionary biologist at the Institute of Science and Technology in Austria. Her research team has published a new paper in PLoS Biology called “Social Transfer of Pathogenic Fungus promotes Active Immunization in Ant Colonies”. (http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001300)

Sylvia has been interested in how social behaviors of insects can actually help provide immunity against various diseases, in a process called social immunization. In this podcast, we'll hear about how they were able to study this process in ant colonies, and what evolutionary advantages this behavior might have. We'll also hear some interesting stories about “group-level immunity” in other insect colonies, like leaf-cutter ants and bumblebees.

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