Epigenetic Changes In Honey Bees

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New research suggests that the average honey bee may be able to greatly expand humanity’s knowledge regarding epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of genetic changes that can occur without actual modification of the DNA sequence. These genetic changes, often brought on due to environmental changes, affect the phenotype of an organism.
Bees are a colony animal. Within a colony, there are several sub-types of bees, including Queens and drones. Although queen and worker bees appear and act vastly different, they are actually genetically identical female bees. The difference between queen and worker bees, despite their genetic similarity, is due to epigenetics. The differences in the environment factors that influence worker and queen bees causes
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The leading hypothesis had previously been that the feeding the queen bees royal jelly, an extremely nutritious mucus like substance, while withholding royal jelly from the worker bees and feeding them a less nutritious mash of fermented pollen and honey was the environmental factor which caused the epigenetic changes. Some geneticist have referred to this practice as “nutritional castration,” meaning that worker bees are “castrated” or reproductively stunted, resulting in smaller ovaries and a smaller size, due to the worker bees being fed what was thought as a far less nutritious diet. Scientists hypothesized that royal jelly was the food that met all of the nutritional requirements of a bee, and therefore by feeding it to queens but not workers, the queens have all typical genes expressed, while the workers became reproductively and developmentally stunted by not having all their nutritional needs met and, therefore having several reproductive and growth related genes remain unexpressed.. However, new research indicates that this is not the

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