Sex Determination - Sex Determination in Honey Bees

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Sex determination in honey bee:

  • In hymenopteran insects such as honeybees, ants, and wasps a mechanism of sex determination called haplodiploidy mechanism of sex determination is common.
  • In this system, the sex of the offspring is determined by the number of sets of chromosomes it receives.
  • An offspring formed from the union of a sperm and an egg develops as a female (queen or worker), and an unfertilized egg develops as a male (drone) by means of parthenogenesis. This means that males have half the number of chromosomes than that of a female.
  • The Sex determination females are diploid having 32 chromosomes and males are haploid, i.e., having 16 chromosomes. This is called as haplodiploid sex-determination system and has special characteristic features such as the males produce sperms by mitosis, they do not have a father and thus cannot have sons, but have a grandfather and can have grandsons.
  • This mode of sex determination facilitates the evolution of sociality in which only one diploid female becomes a queen and lays the eggs for the colony.
  • All other females which are diploid having developed from fertilized eggs help to raise the queen’s eggs and so contribute to the queen’s reproductive success and indirectly to their own, a phenomenon is known as Kin Selection.
  • The queen constructs their social environment by releasing a hormone that suppresses fertility of the workers.

Haplo-diploid sex determination system

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