Bee Sex Explained

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Bee sex explained, as reported in Nature Science Update, 22 Aug 2003. The honeybee genome project has recently been completed and scientists have discovered the gene that controls the sex of honeybees (now called the csd gene). The sex of bees, wasps and ants is determined by whether the eggs they develop from have been fertilised or not. Males develop from unfertilised eggs, females from fertilised eggs, but only if the eggs were fertilised by sperm carrying a different variety of the csd gene. If a fertilised egg inherits two identical copies of csd it will develop into a sterile male. Nineteen varieties of the gene have been identified so far. Queen bees mate with many males to ensure a good mix of genes. Entomologist Robert Page, who has been working on bee reproduction for 15 years says it is a mystery why such a strange sex determining methods should have evolved.

Editorial Comment: Biologists have long puzzled over how life forms that have no sex could evolve into sexually reproducing organisms. As biologists find an increasing number of different methods of sexual reproduction the problem for evolution becomes more puzzling. However, it was no problem for the Creator God who made all living things as separate and unrelated kinds, ready and able to reproduce after their kinds (Genesis 1:11ff). (Ref. bees, reproduction, genes)

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