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Thread: Parthenogenisis

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Newton, NC, USA

    Default Parthenogenisis

    I just purchased "The Hive and the Honey Bee" and was reading the chapter on Genetics last night and learned some things that I thought others on this board may not know and may be interested in. Here goes...

    Parthenogenisis is a form of reproduction where the egg develops without fertilization (virgin birth) and is a characteristic of the insect order Hymenoptera which includes wasps, ants and bees. The honeybee drone is created through parthenogenisis. Since he carries only his mother's genetic material, this make her the genetic father of all of his offspring (weird - huh?). A more appropriate way of looking at mating for honey bees is to consider it as mating between queens verses mating between drones and the queen. 100% of a drone's offspring that survive (without human intervention) will be female. If a queen he has mated with carries one or more of the same sex alleles (allele is an alternate form of the same gene) as he, some their offspring (how many depends on how many alleles the share in common) will result in drone eggs that carry two sets of chromosomes (aka known as a dipliod drone where diploid means two sets of chromosomes). As soon as these eggs hatch, workers eat them. On a more practical level for most of us, this is what results in the non-desirable shotgun brood pattern.

    I also found this website that provides some good info around the topic of honeybee genetics:

    I'll close by saying that I'm no biologist and I didn't stay at a Holiday-Inn express last night so if I have mis-stated anything above, please let me know and I will edit this post accordingly. I'll add that this info make the honeybee even more fascinating to me and my hope is that this info will add to others fascination as well.
    Last edited by Pioneer; 06-28-2013 at 12:00 PM. Reason: fix link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Plymouth County, MA, USA

    Default Re: Parthenogenisis

    Yeah. It's all described well enough in this video.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA

    Default Re: Parthenogenisis

    I've been reading the original one, Langstroth's Hive and the Honey Bee, the final edition. Once you finish yours, you owe it to yourself to read that one too. It's amazing.

    He talks about all that stuff too. Yours sounds a lot more involved than Langstroth's. His is extremely user friendly though.

    I learned that an Italian (for example) queen will lay drones of identical heritage. Since drone eggs are not fertilized with sperm from another drone, they do not share genetics with another strain. Workers, however, are a cross.

    It seems simple, but it was a major realization for me.
    Try it. What could happen?


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