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Plos Biology : Effects of Selection for Honey Bee Worker Reproduction on Foraging Traits, Volume 6

By Oldroyd, Benjamin P.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003928805
Format Type: PDF eBook :
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Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Plos Biology : Effects of Selection for Honey Bee Worker Reproduction on Foraging Traits, Volume 6  
Author: Oldroyd, Benjamin P.
Volume: Volume 6
Language: English
Subject: Journals, Science, Biology
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), PLoS Biology
Publication Date:
Publisher: Plos


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Oldroyd, B. P. (n.d.). Plos Biology : Effects of Selection for Honey Bee Worker Reproduction on Foraging Traits, Volume 6. Retrieved from

Description : The ‘‘reproductive ground plan’’ hypothesis (RGPH) proposes that reproductive division of labour in social insects had its antecedents in the ancient gene regulatory networks that evolved to regulate the foraging and reproductive phases of their solitary ancestors. Thus, queens express traits that are characteristic of the reproductive phase of solitary insects, whereas workers express traits characteristic of the foraging phase. The RGPH has also been extended to help understand the regulation of age polyethism within the worker caste and more recently to explain differences in the foraging specialisations of individual honey bee workers. Foragers that specialise in collecting proteinaceous pollen are hypothesised to have higher reproductive potential than individuals that preferentially forage for nectar because genes that were ancestrally associated with the reproductive phase are active. We investigated the links between honey bee worker foraging behaviour and reproductive traits by comparing the foraging preferences of a line of workers that has been selected for high rates of worker reproduction with the preferences of wild-type bees. We show that while selection for reproductive behaviour in workers has not altered foraging preferences, the age at onset of foraging of our selected line has been increased. Our findings therefore support the hypothesis that age polyethism is related to the reproductive ground plan, but they cast doubt on recent suggestions that foraging preferences and reproductive traits are pleiotropically linked.


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