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What's the essence of royalty - one keto group?

Gadagkar, R (1996) What's the essence of royalty - one keto group? In: Current Science, 71 (12). pp. 975-980.

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A honey bee colony consists of a single queen, tens of thousands of nearly sterile female workers and usually a few hundred drones. The presence of the queen inhibits rearing of new queens, stimulates foraging and interaction of workers with the queen and, (along with the queen's brood), inhibits the development of worker ovaries. Most or all of these effects of the queen on the workers are mediated through primer pheromones secreted by the queen. An important component of the queen's pheromone blend is 9-keto-(E) 2-decenoic acid (9-ODA). Workers also produce related substances which appear to function as nutrients and food preservatives. A dominant component of the worker blend is a diacid which is made from a precursor molecule hydroxylated at the ω carbon atom rather than at the ω–1 carbon atom. The ω–1 precursor is used by the queen which leads to the formation of a keto acid. One might say that the fundamental difference between a queen and worker, the essence of royalty is therefore, one keto group! The recently-elucidated caste-specific biosynthetic pathway for the production of these pheromones permits two other speculations. One is that workers can be thought of as being closer to the ancestral solitary condition and that queens can be thought of as a derived invention of sociality. The other is that, compared to non-social species, social insects are especially predisposed to evolve novel structures and characters as exemplified by the queen for example, through the process of evolution of gene duplication.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright to this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: Honey bee, Queen pheromone, Gene duplication, 9-Oxo-Decenoic Acid
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2021 08:43
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 08:43
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/68148

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