Sunday, September 3, 2017

Buzzing about Bee Bread

Bees are interesting critters.  Not only do they pollinate a vast majority of our crops, but they have harbored one of the mysteries of life: how queen bees are made.  For years, scientists thought that bees became queens by eating "royal jelly."  Well, a new study says we might have gotten it backwards.

A study was done where bee larva were fed the same thing, only one group was fed a special microRNA found in bee bread.  Bee bread is a mixture of honey and pollen, but it also has a plant-derived miRNA (microRNA).  It's this miRNA that switches off the gene that makes a larva into a queen. Those fed the miRNA had smaller ovaries and smaller bodies. It may not be the only way a bee becomes a worker, but it's obvious that bee bread is a key part.  So, you are what you eat.  At least, if you're a bee.

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