Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bees fight to a stalemate in the battle of the sexes

Date:
February 12, 2014
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Just like humans, whether or not some genes are switched on in bumblebees is a result of a battle of the sexes between genes inherited from their mother and genes inherited from their father.

Just like humans, whether or not some genes are switched on in bumblebees is a result of a battle of the sexes between genes inherited from their mother and genes inherited from their father.

Related Articles


Published online on February 12 in the Royal Society journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a new study from the University of Leicester provides new evidence for the kinship theory of evolution of genomic imprinting in bumblebees.

Each bumblebee worker inherits two copies of every gene -- one from their mother and one from their father. For a small number of genes, they only ever use one copy, and which copy is used depends on whether it came from their mother or their father. This is known as genomic imprinting and occurs through a process called methylation which has been found to be important in whether or not a worker bumblebee reproduces.

Lead researcher, Dr Eamonn Mallon from the University of Leicester's Department of Biology, said: "Genomic imprinting is absolutely fascinating. Paternal and maternal genes are constantly at war with each other and are selected to behave in different ways. Our study has shown that genes involved in whether a bumblebee worker can reproduce are involved in methylation; the molecular mechanism for imprinting.

"Worker bees can reproduce, but don't because the Queen is physically preventing them. When the Queen is removed from the colony, we found bees became more aggressive as they attempted to dominate reproduction.

"The kinship theory states that genomic imprinting -- a rather strange phenomenon -- evolved as a result of an eons long battle of the sexes between the genes which come from a mother and the genes that come from a father. The theory predicts that genes involved in queenless worker bees' reproduction should be imprinted."

In the first step to testing the theory, the researchers have shown that methylation -- a molecular switch that prevents a gene from being turned on, and the main mechanism for genomic imprinting -- is important in worker reproduction. By interfering in the methylation process, the researchers were successful in changing normal worker bees into reproducing bees.

Dr Mallon added: "Next, we will look directly for genomic imprinting in this behaviour and evidence of this would dramatically alter our understanding of how bees developed their social lives.

"The study is important because lots of human diseases, including cancer, occur when genomic imprinting goes wrong, and so it is vital for us to understand this evolutionary battle to enable us to better understand how cancers and other such diseases occur."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. H. E. Amarasinghe, C. I. Clayton, E. B. Mallon. Methylation and worker reproduction in the bumble-bee (Bombus terrestris). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 281 (1780): 20132502 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2502

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Bees fight to a stalemate in the battle of the sexes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212074916.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2014, February 12). Bees fight to a stalemate in the battle of the sexes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212074916.htm
University of Leicester. "Bees fight to a stalemate in the battle of the sexes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212074916.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
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