Behavior In Honey Bees Supports Theory Of Kin Evolution

Bees on a honeycomb

Scientists at Penn State University have published a paper with their findings on genetically-inherited altruistic behavior in bees, and their results seem to indicate that if left in a hive with an empty throne, bees will compete with one another to lay the most eggs in an attempt to hatch as many new offspring as possible rather than remaining sterile.

Led by entomologists Christina Grotzinger, David Queller and David Galbraith, the study, which is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dissects the theory of kin selection, which dictates that parents will put the survivalhood of their offspring before their own. When applied to how honeybees are traditionally viewed — as workers who will more or less die or kill for the sanctity of their hive — kin selection throws this perspective off-kilter. According to the study, matrigenes (genes that come from the mother, in this case, the queen bee) take over for the function that patrigenes (genes that come from the father, or worker bee) and what ensues is a sort of procreative competition rather than remaining sterile.

Read More: Techtimes

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