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Am Nat. 2002 Dec;160 Suppl 6:S160-72. doi: 10.1086/342901.

Genomics and integrative analyses of division of labor in honeybee colonies.

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Department of Entomology and Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


One approach to understanding proximate and evolutionary mechanisms of social behavior is to analyze mechanisms of neural and behavioral plasticity and their underlying genes. This article deals with such analyses in the honeybee Apis mellifera. The first part reviews the control of age-related division of labor in honeybee colonies with special attention to social, endocrine, and neurochemical factors. The second part reviews progress in studying changes in gene expression that are associated with division of labor, including a brief description of a genomics project that involves a set of 20,000 expressed sequence tags from the honeybee brain and cDNA microarrays for large-scale gene expression analysis. The article concludes by considering some of the general issues associated with studies of genes and social behavior in honeybees.

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