Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Royal aspirations

What makes a queen honeybee? The proposal of a definitive answer to this long-standing question offers much royal food for thought for those studying the evolution of social traits and insect genomes. See Article p.478

Your institute does not have access to this article

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Centre of attention.



  1. Euromonitor Passport Global Market Information Database (13 Nov. 2009);

  2. Kamakura, M. Nature 473, 478–483 (2011).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Aeppler, C. W. Gleanings Bee Cult. 50, 151–153 (1922).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Wilson, E. O. The Insect Societies (Belknap, 1971).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Gardner, T. S. J. Gerontol. 3, 1–8 (1948).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Wirtz, P. & Beetsma, J. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 15, 517–520 (1972).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Asencot, M. & Lensky, Y. Life Sci. 18, 693–699 (1976).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Evans, J. D. & Wheeler, D. E. Genome Biol. 2, research0001.1–0001.6 (2000).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Patel, A. et al. PLoS One 2, e509 (2007).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Wang, Y. et al. Science 314, 645–647 (2006).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Kucharski, R. et al. Science 319, 1827–1830 (2008).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Spannhoff, A. et al. EMBO Rep. 12, 238–243 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Fischman, B. J., Woodard, S. H. & Robinson, G. E. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108, 7472–7477 (2011).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gene E. Robinson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Robinson, G. Royal aspirations. Nature 473, 454–455 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing