Bee Research Sheds Light on Human Sweet Perception, Metabolic Disorders

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A new-born honey bee worker (Apis mellifera) breaks free from her nursery chamber in the colony nest. A few weeks later, she will leave the hive in search for nectar and pollen to feed her siblings and mother queen. The genes vitellogenin and ultraspiracle, which regulate the bees’ behavioral transition to foraging tasks, also coordinate their carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar levels, sweet taste, and several metabolic genes in adipose tissue. When vitellogenin and ultraspiracle are simultaneously suppressed in adipose cells, the bees develop a metabolic syndrome similar to Type 1 diabetes.
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