A Single Bee Has Created an Immortal Army with Millions of Clones

It's amazing. It's also extremely dysfunctional."Perfect ClonesScientists have found a subspecies that can make perfect clones of its own and use those clones in an attempt to invade bee colonies.Live Science reports that scientists discovered that the DNA of a South African Cape honeybee's female does not change when she lays an egg. This allows it create perfect clones every time it reproduces, making it almost immortal. Scientists have even found a bee subspecies that has created millions of clones in the past three decades.A paper by researchers who investigated this strange phenomenon was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.It's amazing. It's also extremely dysfunctional," said Benjamin Oldroyd (lead author of the study, and professor of behavioral genetics, University of Sydney), to Live ScienceAdvertisementAdvertisementReproductive HypnotherapyOldroyd has every right to be amazed. Insects are not unusual for sexual reproduction. It is common for asexual reproduction to occur in insects. The parents DNA is usually mixed up through a process called "recombination". This means that even though they have one parent, their genetic makeup will be different.The South African Cape honeybee seems to be making a perfect copy every time it reproduces.Attack of the ClonesBees pose a problem for both its colony and the rival bee colonies. Because only the queen can reproduce in colonies that are typical, this is why it can be a problem. The hives will become dysfunctional if the worker bees cannot produce offspring.Oldroyd told New Scientist that eventually the workers would just be there laying eggs and not doing any work. The colony is destroyed and the cloning workers spread to the next one.AdvertisementAdvertisementOldroyd says that this phenomenon kills approximately 10 percent of South African bee colonies every year. It is similar to a social cancer.READ MORE: A genetic fluke has enabled a single bee to create an immortal clone army [Live Science]Here's more on clones: Chinese Scientists Create Gene-Edited Monkeys With Horrifying ResultsFuturism readers are invited to join the Singularity Global Community. This is our parent company's forum for futuristic science and technology discussions with other like-minded people around the globe. Sign up today to get started!AdvertisementAdvertisement