SIB News

Killer bees

Genomic study explores evolution of gentle ‘killer bees’ in Puerto Rico

From left, Matthew Hudson, Arian Avalos, Gene Robinson and their colleagues found genomic signatures associated with the evolution of gentle behavior in Puerto Rico’s Africanized honey bees.

A genomic study of Puerto Rico's Africanized honey bees – which are more docile than other so-called “killer bees” – reveals that they retain most of the genetic traits of their African honey bee ancestors, but that a few regions of their DNA have become more like those of European honey bees. According to the researchers, these changes likely contributed to the bees' rapid evolution toward gentleness in Puerto Rico, a change that occurred within 30 years.

The findings, reported in the journal Nature Communications, could lead to advances that will bolster honey bee populations in the Americas, the researchers said.

Read the full article at the Illinois News Bureau


Publication Date: 11/16/2017
Photo credits: L. Brian Stauffer
Editor: Diana Yates