Sci. STKE, 24 July 2007
Genetics Whats the Buzz
Laura M. Zahn
Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA
The residents of bee hives are well known to be closely related, but hives can often exhibit more genetic diversity than might be anticipated from theories on the benefits of cooperation among closely related individuals. Mattila and Seeley show that one reason for this is that more genetically diverse hives (those originating from a female mating with multiple males) perform better in the rate of comb building, foraging rates, and honey production than those originating from a single female and male. To advertise her presence in the colony and to exert influence over its members, a honey bee queen produces a complex blend of substances known as queen mandibular pheromone. Vergoz et al. (see the Perspective by Galizia) found that exposure to queen pheromone leads to a reduction in aversive learning but not to a reduction in appetitive learning in young honey bees. The queen substance modulates the dopaminergic system of bees, which reduces the capacity of young workers to form aversive memories.
Citation: L. M. Zahn, Whats the Buzz. Sci. STKE 2007, tw267 (2007).
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