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Switching Tasks Changes Worker Bee DNA 82

`puddingebola writes "A report in the journal Nature Neuroscience (paywalled) says scientists have observed epigenetic markers in bees that correspond to their roles in the society. From the article, 'Honeybees are born into their place in society. Those fed royal jelly as larvae emerge as queens and do little but lay eggs. The rest become worker bees and divvy up the jobs that need doing around the hive. While some worker bees remain at home, others take flight in search of nectar, pollen and other hive essentials. The entire honeybee workforce are genetically identical sisters. But analysis of the worker bees' DNA revealed that foragers had one pattern of chemical tags on their genes, while those that stayed home had another. When bees swapped one job for the other, their genetic tags changed accordingly.'"
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Switching Tasks Changes Worker Bee DNA

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  • by reubenavery ( 1047008 ) on Monday September 17, 2012 @10:41PM (#41370607)
    Totally feel the bees on that.

    Whenever I need to completely switch gears from one project to the next (like going from Drupal into Zend Framework), I will require at least two weeks of downtime (although I would never dare admit to it to my manager). It's unavoidable. It's like my brain is jammed between channels and no matter how much I beat the horse, it will be this way while my neurons rearrange themselves. Then, one sunny day, bing it's all realigned and reprogrammed and I'm off to the productive races.

    Wish there were medical-creative downtime available....
  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Monday September 17, 2012 @11:06PM (#41370779) Homepage Journal
    Epigenetics is not about the DNA sequence itself, but rather about how the DNA is managed and accessed. Generally it refers to the protein that helps to condense the DNA and make some parts more accessible than others. Really the more noticeable change would be in their RNA, which is the sequence of expressed genes.

    Basically if your genome is a tape library, RNA is your local hard drive, which is pulling files as needed from the tape library. Your system RAM is, of course, protein.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @02:52AM (#41371807)

    Worker bees in a hive are not geneticially identical, nor are they all sisters in the usual sense of the word. Queen bees are typically multiply mated during a mating flight and store sperm for life. Male bees develop from unfertilized eggs and they only have one set of chromosomes which each of their offspring inherits in full. Pairs of worker bees therefore either have the same father so they share on average 75% of their genes, or they have different fathers so that they share 25% of their genes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:40AM (#41374153)

    Clearly you were below average, because it's was QUITE obvious what "level" a student was at due to the labeling of the classes: "accelerated or AP" at the top end and "remedial" at the bottom end. Everything else was average. Grammar school is a bit more segregated and harder to get on or off a given track since you tended to have all of your classes with the same group.

    And it's not some conspiracy as to why the wealthier kids end up at the top. Well educated people tend to have more money and tend to value education more than those who do not. Educated parents tend to push their children harder than the school does and often have the means to provide outside education. They also complain more and browbeat teachers into placing children higher. It's not class warfare.

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's