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Thursday, March 30, 2017

African bees have learned to reproduce without males

A group of scientists from Uppsala University, found out how the females of the Cape honey bee, isolated population which lives in South Africa, received a way to leave offspring without the participation of males. Scientists have found a number of mutations in the genes of the bees, which could explain their unusual method of reproduction, and some behaviors.

photo: ru.wikipedia.org

Photo: Jon Sullivan

Usually, the bees, the drones fertilize the eggs laid by the Queen. However, the female workers of the Cape honey bees were capable of, in fact, self-fertilize their eggs own DNA. In order to provide suitable conditions to their offspring, they capture the hives “normal” insects — biologists call this “social parasitism”. Comparing the genome of the Cape and other honey bees, the scientists noted their great similarity, however, found 39 different pieces of land, which, in the aggregate, in all probability, and “responsible” for the features of asexual insects.

In the long term, according to the researchers, this method is to leave offspring unlikely to benefit the Cape bees: many earlier studies had shown that reproduction involving two partners, allows populations to adapt better to changing conditions and more efficient to get rid of harmful mutations.

Scientific work published in the journal PLoS Genetics.

Scientists are finding more and more examples of breeding females without the participation of males or parthenogenesis in the animal world, although more advanced beings than bees, it is quite rare. However, recently scientists were able for the first time to watch these sharks in the second generation in a row: spotted cat shark, born without the help of a male, she has had her litter the same way.

Interestingly, at that time, as the ability to reproduce without the involvement of males in the Cape of bees leads to lack of need thereof, an Australian bearded Agam may face the opposite problem. Males of this species of lizard hatching from eggs, in hot years, remain the only males from a genetic point of view, from a physiological turn into females, and very prolific and aggressive. This could potentially lead to the extinction of “normal” females.

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