Friday, 8 September 2017

Why some baby bees are destined to become workers—or queens


Aug. 31, 2017 , 2:13 PM

The saying “you are what you eat” is particularly true for female honey bees, which grow up to be either small, sterile workers or large, fertile queens depending on their diet. Previously, many researchers thought that something in the food fed to young queens—a secretion called royal jelly—was what made the difference. Now, a new study suggests it’s signaling molecules in the grub of young worker bees that keeps their sexual development in check. That diet, a mixture of pollen and honey called “beebread,” is shot through with a special kind of microRNA (miRNA), noncoding RNA molecules that help regulate gene expression. To find out whether these miRNAs were the culprit, scientists added them to the diet of larvae raised in the lab. 


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