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article imageBees are more closely related to ants than wasps

By Tim Sandle     Oct 14, 2013 in Environment
Ants and bees are surprisingly more genetically related to each other than they are to social wasps such as yellow jackets and paper wasps, new research has concluded.
Researchers have come to the conclusion about the relatedness of ants and bees based on genome sequencing and bioinformatics. Scientists previously thought that ants and bees were more distantly related, with ants being closer to certain types of wasps.
To show, Zee News reports, this closeness the research team studied number of species of ants, bees and wasps, including bradynobaenid wasps, a cuckoo wasp, a spider wasp, a scoliid wasp, a mud dauber wasp, a tiphiid wasp, a paper wasp and a pollen wasp; a velvet ant (wasp); a dracula ant; and a sweat bee, Lasioglossum albipes.
The study was undertaken at University of California, Davis. The findings have been published in the journal Current Biology. The paper is titled “Phylogenomics Resolves Evolutionary Relationships among Ants, Bees, and Wasps.”
The six-member research team consisted of Professor Phil Ward; molecular geneticist and assistant professor Joanna Chiu; honey bee scientist and assistant professor Brian Johnson; doctoral student-researcher Marek Borowiec of the Ward lab; and postdoctoral researcher Joel Atallah of the Johnson lab, all with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and visiting scientist Ernest K. Lee of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History.
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