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The genetic background of chemical communication and chemosensory gene evolution in ants. Master's thesis project.
Darwinian selection can be measured and investigated from gene sequences. A certain gene form favored by positive selection will become more common in the population. Detecting strong positive selection is rare, but it has been found to affect genes involved in immune defense and perception of odorants. Genes under positive selection have a possible role in speciation or adaptation. This is why chemical communication, being based on the sense of smell, is an interesting topic for measuring natural selection and positive selection in particular. Social insects, such as ants, are model organisms for chemical communication. They use chemical communication not only for finding nutrition and detecting intruders, but also in coordinating the activities of several thousands of colony members.