What is “Haplodiploidy”?
a)a new form for hair replacement
b)bad breath in the animal kingdom or
c)does it determine the sex of offspring for some insects?
yes, its c), and it can get a little mind boggling, so listen closely, as this sounds like a riddle; Its a system where a male has no father and cannot have sons, but he has a grandfather and can have grandsons. Got it?
Ok, I feel we need an explanation for that….lets start with what we know: we humans are like most animals that inherit half their genes form their mother and half from their father … right? But in ants, bees, and wasps its really not so simple, as males develop from unfertilized eggs and are haploid, and females develop from fertilized eggs and are diploid. So, in this system, sex is determined by the number of sets of chromosomes an individual receives. An offspring formed from the union of a sperm and an egg develops as a female, and an unfertilized egg develops as a male. This means that the males have half the number of chromosomes that a female has, and are haploid.
The result is that sisters (the workers in a nest) share three quarters of their genes, but mothers and offspring share only half.
Perhaps no co-incidence that that these creatures are often highly social, with females sacrificing their own ability to reproduce in favour of working together to raise more sisters.