Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic 'remix' key to evolution of bee behavior, researchers find

Date:
October 15, 2012
Source:
York University
Summary:
Worker bees have become a highly skilled work force because the genes that determine their behavior are shuffled frequently, helping natural selection to build a better bee, research suggests. A new study sheds light on how worker bees -- who are sterile -- evolved charismatic and cooperative behaviors. Researchers discovered that the genes associated with worker behavior were found in areas of the genome that have the highest rate of recombination.

Worker bees have become a highly skilled and specialized work force because the genes that determine their behaviour are shuffled frequently, helping natural selection to build a better bee, research from York University suggests.

The study, to be published October 15 at 3pm EST in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), sheds light on how worker bees -- who are sterile -- evolved charismatic and cooperative behaviours such as nursing young bees, collecting food for the colony, defending it against intruders, and dancing to communicate the location of profitable flowers to nestmates.

When York University researchers examined the honey bee genome, they discovered that the genes associated with worker behaviour were found in areas of the genome that have the highest rate of recombination. Recombination represents a shuffling of the genetic deck: recombination in the ovaries of a queen shuffles the chromosomes she inherited from her parents. As a result, the queen's female offspring are likely to inherit mosaic chromosomes with different combinations of mutations, says Biology Professor Amro Zayed, whose lab conducted the research.

Recombination allows natural selection to act on specific mutations without regard to neighbouring mutations.

"If I'm a good rower in a dragon boat with 49 poor rowers, I am going to lose all of my races. But if teams were shuffled after every race, I'll likely have a better chance of winning. I may even get to be in a boat with 49 good rowers just like myself," says Zayed. "The same thing happens with mutations on a chromosome. Recombination makes the evolutionary fate of mutations independent of their surrounding neighbours, which enhances the process of natural selection.."

The team believes that they have solved one of the mysteries of the honey bee's genome, says postdoctoral research associate Clement Kent, lead author on the study.

"The honey bee has the highest rates of recombination in animals -- ten times higher than humans. Our study shows that this high degree of genetic shuffling has turned on the evolutionary faucet in parts of the bee genome responsible for orchestrating worker behaviour," says Kent. "This can allow natural selection to increase the fitness of honey bee colonies, which live or die based on how well their workers 'behave'."

The study, "Recombination is associated with the evolution of genome structure and worker behavior in honey bees" was coauthored by Kent, Zayed, and graduate students Shermineh Minaei and Brock Harpur. The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Province of Ontario.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Clement F. Kent, Shermineh Minaei, Brock A. Harpur, and Amro Zayed. Recombination is associated with the evolution of genome structure and worker behavior in honey bees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1208094109

Cite This Page:

York University. "Genetic 'remix' key to evolution of bee behavior, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015152007.htm>.
York University. (2012, October 15). Genetic 'remix' key to evolution of bee behavior, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015152007.htm
York University. "Genetic 'remix' key to evolution of bee behavior, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015152007.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins