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Why are we studying social insects?

Social insects (ants, bees, wasps and termites) are among the most diverse and ecologically important organisms on earth. As “superorganisms,” they live in intricately governed societies that rival our own in complexity and internal cohesion. They are particularly well suited to post-genome era biology because they can be studied at multiple different levels of biological organization, from gene to ecosystem, and much is known about their natural history.  The sequencing of the honey bee genome provides additional tools and information that can be used to examine all insect societies.

Created 10/22/04
Updated 10/22/04
Photos by Alex Wild