Biologists Identify Honeybee ‘Clean’ Genes

The key to breeding disease-resistant honeybees could lie in a group of genes – known for controlling hygienic behaviour – that enable colonies to limit the spread of harmful mites and bacteria, according to genomics research conducted at York University.

Some worker honeybees detect and remove sick and dead larvae and pupae from their colonies. This hygienic behaviour, which has a strong genetic component, is known to improve the colony’s chance of survival. The researchers narrowed in on the “clean” genes that influence this behaviour to understand the evolution of this unique trait.

 

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