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Research led by Wayne State discovers single gene in bees separating queens from workers
Date:1/31/2014

n-gathering apparatus in all corbiculate bees may have a shared origin and could be traced to the acquisition of novel functions by Ubx.

In another interesting finding, researchers identified that bees living in more complex social structures have an advantage over isolated populations in developing these important functions.

"The pollen baskets are much less elaborate or completely absent in bees that are less socially complex," Huang said. "We conclude that the evolution of pollen baskets is a major innovation among social insects and is tied directly to more complex social behaviors."

The value of agricultural crops dependent on honey bee pollination was estimated to be $14.6 billion per year in the U.S. in 2013.

"In Michigan alone, the fruit and vegetable industries produce over $2 billion per year, and nearly 50 percent of that value is due entirely to honey bee pollination," said Huang. "This shows that bees are contributing significantly to the state and national economy."

This study, along with future research by Popadic and Huang, may provide an option for improving the shrinking population of bees' pollen-collecting capacity, leading to increased pollination and hopeful increases in fruit and vegetable production.


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Contact: Julie O'Connor
julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
313-577-8845
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research
Source:Eurekalert

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