Studying the Termite Genome To Understand Termites and Develop New Treatments.

Interesting Recent Study of Termites

It is reported that recent studies in the US have revealed that the termite genome has been sequenced reportedly for the first time.
This has enabled biologists to take a detailed look at the genetic code of the termite as an insect for the very first time. It is reported that entomologists, as part of a research team, have mapped the genetic blueprint of the dampwood termite, one of the world’s most primitive social insects. 
Whilst not all of the functions of the termite are as a pest, it is believed that if scientists can understand the termite better they can target treatments specifically for household pests and understand their habitat and socialisation habits better.
Researchers have specifically studied this type of termite, and found that they do not leave their nests much with the majority of their lives being spent inside a tree trunk or log. Similar to bees, only a few termites will mate, as most termites carry out the roles of workers and soldiers.
It is understood that this particular species of dampwood termite does not do significant damage to houses and buildings, but it is closely related to the eastern subterranean termite, which does cause significant damage to houses and buildings across a variety of locations. Therefore the study shed some light on these more aggressive and troublesome termites that cause the most damage to our homes.
It is believed that this study, as well as providing information as to how termites evolved, also uncovers some specific differences in the termite as well as some similarities to other social insects such as ants, wasps and bees. 
It seems that where the termite is different to an ant who generally delivers sperm once on their lifetime and then dies, the termite can reproduce sperm to fertilize the queen eggs for their lifetime. As such it is believed that a termite is very different to an ant in many ways and needs to be treated accordingly.

Why would this termite study matter you may ask? 

Because this US study has been able to uncover some very useful information in understanding the termite, its genetics, its habitat and its social preferences, it then lends itself for scientists to be able to develop better and more targeted baits and treatments for this unwanted pest.
It is expected that continued research into this termite, will allow researchers to pinpoint specific gene functions, and therefore target pesticides and treatments to cater for their quick and effective irradiation from homes. It may also be possible to develop effective but less harmful chemicals to aid in their treatment. 
Researchers hope that by studying the genetic makeup of termites, they can also learn about the drive toward socialization among insects. 
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