Nutritional control of reproductive status in honeybees via DNA methylation

R. Kucharski, J. Maleszka, S. Foret, R. Maleszka*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    853 Citations (Scopus)


    Fertile queens and sterile workers are alternative forms of the adult female honeybee that develop from genetically identical larvae following differential feeding with royal jelly. We show that silencing the expression of DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3, a key driver of epigenetic global reprogramming, in newly hatched larvae led to a royal jelly-like effect on the larval developmental trajectory; the majority of Dnmt3 small interfering RNA-treated individuals emerged as queens with fully developed ovaries. Our results suggest that DNA methylation in Apis is used for storing epigenetic information, that the use of that information can be differentially altered by nutritional input, and that the flexibility of epigenetic modifications underpins, profound shifts in developmental fates, with massive implications for reproductive and behavioral status.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1827-1830
    Number of pages4
    Issue number5871
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2008


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