The genome sequence of the western honeybee may help explain the molecular and genetic basis of this insect's unusual sociality, according to the authors of the published sequence in this week's Nature. The Honeybee Genome Sequencing Consortium has completed the first draft of the sequence, as well as a spate of analyses covering the development, reproduction, gene regulation, neurobiology and behavior, and population genetics of the insect.The paper accomplishes for the honeybee "in a single package" what took more than a decade to produce for the fruit fly, said Sergey Nuzhdin of the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the project. Besides assembling the genome sequence, the researchers "have managed to interpret genome information in a truly functional sense," Nuzhdin told The Scientist.The research teams cloned and sequenced more than 230 million bases of the Apis mellifera genome, leaving about 26 million bases, which lie...

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