Reversible switching between epigenetic states in honeybee behavioral subcastes

Brian R. Herb, Florian Wolschin, Kasper D. Hansen, Martin J. Aryee, Ben Langmead, Rafael Irizarry, Gro Amdam, Andrew P. Feinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


In honeybee societies, distinct caste phenotypes are created from the same genotype, suggesting a role for epigenetics in deriving these behaviorally different phenotypes. We found no differences in DNA methylation between irreversible worker and queen castes, but substantial differences between nurses and forager subcastes. Reverting foragers back to nurses reestablished methylation levels for a majority of genes and provides, to the best of our knowledge, the first evidence in any organism of reversible epigenetic changes associated with behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1371-1373
Number of pages3
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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