New honey bee research

This video is called Honey bees – Natural History 1.

And this video is the sequel.

From Wildlife Extra:

A single gene splits the workers from the queens in honey bees

January 2013: Just a single gene separates the workers from the queens in honey bees scientists have identified.

A team of scientists from Michigan State University and Wayne State University discovered the gene, which is responsible for leg and wing development, plays a crucial role in the evolution of bees’ ability to carry pollen.

“This gene is critical in making the hind legs of workers distinct so they have the physical features necessary to carry pollen,” said Zachary Huang, MSU entomologist. “Other studies have shed some light on this gene’s role in this realm, but our team examined in great detail how the modifications take place.”

“The gene in question is Ultrabithorax, or Ubx. Specifically, the gene allows workers to develop a smooth spot on their hind legs that hosts their pollen baskets. On another part of their legs, the gene promotes the formation of 11 neatly spaced bristles, a section known as the “pollen comb.”

While workers have these distinct features, queens do not. The research team was able to confirm this by isolating and silencing Ubx, the target gene. This made the pollen baskets, specialized leg features used to collect and transport pollen, completely disappear.

The scientists published the results in the current issue of Biology Letters.

See also here. And here.

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