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Queen or worker? Flexibility between roles relies on just a few genes

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October 19, 2015 Babraham Institute Two insect species from Latin America, the dinosaur ant and the red paper wasp, have been used to uncover the molecular mechanisms underpinning queen and worker roles in social insects. The research by an international team of scientists brings us closer to understanding how genomes …

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Wasp transcriptome creates a buzz

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February 26, 2013 BioMed Central Limited New research delivers a sting in the tail for queen wasps.  Scientists have sequenced the active parts of the genome – or transcriptome – of primitively eusocial wasps to identify the part of the genome that makes you a queen or a worker. Their …

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Starvation as babies makes bees stronger as adults

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March 30, 2016 Arizona State University Summary: Researchers have discovered that short-term starvation as larvae (baby bees) actually makes honey bees more resilient to nutritional deprivation as adults. This is the first time that an anticipatory mechanism, called ‘predictive adaptive response,’ has been found in social organisms. Credit: Photo by Christofer …

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Mysterious case of the disappearing honey bee: New clues about decline

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April 30, 2015 Wellesley College Summary: A new study shows poor nutrition for honey bee larvae leads to compromised pollination capabilities as adult bees. This is a possible link to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). A new study by Heather Mattila, a leading honey bee ecologist and Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences …

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Bees diversify diet to take the sting out of nutritional deficiencies

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April 13, 2016 Hebrew University of Jerusalem Summary: While pesticides and pathogens pose clear threats to honey bee health, the need of bee colonies for balanced nutrition is gaining increasing appreciation. As colonies are kept in agricultural areas for crop pollination, they may encounter nutritional deficits when foraging predominantly on …

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Age matters: Young larvae boost pollen foraging in honey bees

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November 18, 2014 Arizona State University Summary: Adult bees foraging for food use the changing pheromone signals of the young to adjust what nutritional resources they collect. Honey bees return to the hive with one and one half times more protein-rich pollen, when exposed to young larvae as compared to …

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Environment may change, but microbiome of queen bees does not

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March 2, 2015 North Carolina State University Summary: Researchers have characterized the gut microbiome of honey bee queens. This is the first thorough census of the gut microbiome — which consists of all the microorganisms that live in the gut of the organism — in queen bees. Full Story: Researchers from …

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Queen bee’s honesty is the best policy for reproduction signals

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November 13, 2013 Penn State Summary: Queen bees convey honest signals to worker bees about their reproductive status and quality, according to an international team of researchers, who say their findings may help to explain why honey bee populations are declining. Full Story: Queen bees convey honest signals to worker bees …

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Evolutionary question answered: Ants more closely related to bees than to most wasps

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October 8, 2013 University of California – Davis Summary: Genome sequencing and bioinformatics resolves a long-standing, evolutionary issue, demonstrating that ants and bees are more closely related to each other than they are to certain wasps. Full Story: Ants and bees are surprisingly more genetically related to each other than …

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