Nutritional Control of Reproductive Status in Honeybees via DNA Methylation

Silencing the expression of DNA methyltransferase in newly hatched Apis larvae leads to a royal jelly-like effect on larva development. According to scientists from the Australian National University, the majority of larvae treated with siRNA grew up to be queens with fully developed ovaries.

In Apis, DNA methylation seems be a method for storing epigenetic information. Also, the use of this epigenetic information can be manipulated by nutritional factors causing immense differences in developmental fates and thus reproductive and behavioral status. The fertile queens Apis and her sterile female workers share the same genotype, yet queens are fed with royal jelly, while worker bees are not.

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