bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Honeybee Genome Scoop!

A kind reader has shown me the news release due to be distributed tomorrow about the completion of the honeybee genome project.

The sequence covers more than 98 percent of the genome and the primary results will be presented in the October 26 issue of Nature. The honey bee project is one of five insect genomes the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine has undertaken, including the fruit fly, wasp, pea aphid, and red flour beetle.

The honey bee has many vertebrate genes not previously found in sequenced insect genomes. These are not recently developed genes, but date back 600 million year to the last common ancestor of bees and vertebrates. Their absence in other insects is a reflection of evolutionary specialization in the different insect lineages.

“The honey bee genome sequence will aid genetic research into host-pathogen interactions,” said Dr. Kim Worley, Ph.D., also of the BCM-HGSC. “There are striking differences between the immune system gene complements of honey bees and other sequenced insects.”



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