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Job swapping makes its mark on honeybee DNA

ananyo (2519492) writes | about 2 years ago

Science 0

ananyo writes "Subtle differences in the DNA of honeybees are reflected in the bees' roles within the hive. These DNA modifications are normally fixed, but researchers have now discovered the first example of reversible changes to DNA associated with behavior.
Worker bees start out as nurses, which look after and feed the queen and larvae, and most then go on to become foragers, which travel out from the hive in search of pollen. The two types of bee have very different methylation patterns in their DNA. The latest results show, however, that these 'epigenetic' DNA modifications are reversible: if a forager reverts to being a nurse, its methylation pattern reverts too ( abstract).
The research suggests that — potentially — reversing 'bad' epigenetic marks in human physical and psychological diseases could be used to treat disease or change behavior."

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