Genes and the bumblebee 'battle of the sexes'
Dr Eamonn Mallon from our Department of Biology has lead research into the genetics of bumblebees and the 'battle of sexes' between genes inherited from their mother and father.
The research taken out can help biologists to understand how cancers and other diseases occur as a lot of human diseases occur when genomic imprinting goes wrong.
The research provides evidence for the kinship theory of the evolution of genomic imprinting in bumblebees. It found that each bumblebee worker inherits two copies of every gene, one from the mother and one from the father, but only one is used. This is known as genomic imprinting and occurs through a process called methylation which has been found to be important in whether or not a worker bumblebee reproduces.
Listen to a podcast of Dr Mallon explaining the concept of genomic imprinting: