The venom preceded the stinger: Genomic studies shed light on the origins of bee venom

Bees, wasps and ants belong to the Hymenoptera order and inject a whole cocktail of venomous ingredients when they sting. Despite their tremendous ecological and economic importance, little was previously known about the origins of their venom. Through extensive genomic studies, a team of researchers led by Dr. Björn von Reumont from Goethe University Frankfurt has now discovered that typical venomous components were already present in the earliest ancestors of Hymenoptera and must therefore have evolved before the stingers of bees and other insects. What’s more, and contrary to previous assumptions, the gene for the venom melittin is found solely in bees.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft