The Mommy Gene Found

Polistes metricus wasp

Scientists have discovered that the basis of eusociality (the tendency of sterile females to raise the young of a common queen) found in bees, wasps, and other social insects is genitically based. Lots of study has been done on Apis meliferia, or the European Honeybee, but very little has been done on wasps.

This particular study was run on Polistes metricus, (family Vespidae) a rather primative wasp. Investigators used their knowledge of Honeybee genetics to identify the materinal gene in the wasp’s genome. Given that it was the same as the honey bee’s, they found that the tendency to be eusocial is an evolved trait that ensures the genes are passed on from generation to generation.


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