Latest Issue of Science News


DNA tags may dictate bee behavior

Chemical alterations affect genetic activity but not content

Reversible changes that dictate how genes function may determine what jobs honeybees do in the hive.

Worker honeybees are literally born to be nurses that take care of larvae. After two to three weeks, the workers become foragers. That career change is accompanied by the addition of chemical tags called methyl groups to some of their genes, says a team of researchers led by epigeneticist Andrew Feinberg of Johns Hopkins University and biologist Gro Amdam of Arizona State University in Tempe and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Aas.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.