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舊 2006-09-30, 05:49 PM   #1
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註冊日期: 2004-05-16
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Queen bee promiscuity 'lowers colony disease'

InTheNews.co.uk

Wednesday, 27 Sep 2006 11:11

Queen bees which mate with numerous males create a stronger colony which is less prone to intense disease than singly mating queens, a new study has found.

Most species of social insects have singly mating queens, but some species have queens which mate with numerous males (known as polyandry) in order to create a genetically diverse worker force.

Scientists from Cornell University and North Carolina State University identified honeybee colonies headed by queens that had either been inseminated be either one or ten drones (male bees).

These species were then inoculated with bacteria which cause a highly virulent honeybee disease known as American foulbrood (AFB).

Although no difference was found between the colonies in the probability of infection five weeks after the inoculation with the bacteria, the scientists discovered significant differences between the two groups in the intensity of infection.

This led them to argue that "increased intracolony genetic diversity was associated with reduced likelihood of a colony contracting a severe case of AFB".

The study also found that brood population, adult population and weight gain were stronger in the colonies headed by queen bees inseminated by ten drones.

Writing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the scientists argue that their findings highlight the need for more theoretical work on the relationship between genetic diversity and disease resistance in social insect colonies.

"If further studies with other diseases confirm this result, then it will be clear that the parasite hypothesis explains, at least in part, why highly polyandrous honeybee queens are favoured by natural selection," the scientists conclude.
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