Researchers solve mystery of virgin cape honey bees

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Researchers solve mystery of virgin cape honey bees
Researchers solve mystery of virgin cape honey bees

Sydney : Researchers from the University of Sydney have ended their 30-year-long quest of finding how cape honey bees reproduce without going into sexual intercourse. A special gene in them is responsible for the unbelievable phenomenon.

The findings from the study have been published in Current Biology on May 7, 2020 which solved the myth created over possibilities of virgin birth.

Excited with the new findings, Professor Benjamin Oldroyd of School of Life and Environmental Sciences, said, ''It is extremely exciting. Scientists have been looking for this gene for the last 30 years. Now that we know it’s on chromosome 11, we have solved a mystery.''

He mentioned that till date sex had been the most common way of production among the species and plant on earth. He further stressed that asexuality is a much more efficient way to reproduce, and every now and then we see a species revert to it.

In the study done on Cape honey bee, found in South Africa it was found that the gene has allowed worker bees to lay eggs that only produce females instead of the normal males that other honey bees do.

Highlighting more on the nature of reproduction in Cape honey bees, Professor Oldroyd said, ''The ability to produce daughters asexually, known as ''thelytokous parthenogenesis'', is restricted to a single subspecies inhabiting the Cape region of South Africa, the Cape honey bee or Apis mellifera capensis.''