mapkinase writes to let us know about articles in Nature on the completed sequencing of the honeybee genome. From the first article: "Two other insects have already been sequenced: the malaria-carrying mosquito Anopheles gambiae, and one of science's great model organisms, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. Like these, the bee is much easier to manipulate and study than, say, the monkey. But unlike the mosquito and the fruitfly, the bee's social behavior is of special interest." Another article in the same issue clarifies why this sequencing is important: "The genome is helping to reveal some of those [such as the bees' dance language and the division of labor in the hive] mechanisms. For instance, there are 65 spots in the genome that seem to code for short RNA molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs), molecular switches that can turn genes on or off. The researchers found that miRNA activity differs between bees doing different jobs."
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