University of OtagoResearchers from New Zealands University of Otago have discovered the molecular mechanism by which queen honeybees carefully control worker bees fertility. It has long been known that worker bees have a very limited ability to reproduce in a hive with a queen and brood present, but in their absence, a third of them will activate their ovaries and lay eggs that hatch into fertile male drones. It is queen pheromone that represses worker bee fertility, but how it achieves this has remained unclear.

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