Isobel Ronai

Isobel Ronai
Harvard University | Harvard · Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

24
Publications
3,461
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184
Citations
Introduction
Dr. Ronai studies ticks and tick-borne diseases of medical and veterinary importance. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University.
Education
March 2013 - September 2017
The University of Sydney
Field of study
  • Biological Sciences

Publications

Publications (24)
Article
In the honey bee (Apis mellifera), queen and worker castes originate from identical genetic templates but develop into different phenotypes. Queens lay up to 2,000 eggs daily whereas workers are sterile in the queen’s presence. Periodically queens stop laying: during swarming, when resources are scarce in winter, and when they are confined to a cag...
Article
The presence of DNA methylation marks within genic intervals, also called gene body methylation, is an evolutionarily‐conserved epigenetic hallmark of animal and plant methylomes. In social insects, gene body methylation is thought to contribute to behavioral plasticity, for example between foragers and nurse workers, by modulating gene expression....
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Full-text available
Intragenic DNA methylation, also called gene body methylation, is an evolutionarily- conserved epigenetic mechanism in animals and plants. In social insects, gene body methylation is thought to contribute to behavioral plasticity, for example between foragers and nurse workers, by modulating gene expression. However, recent studies have suggested t...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the honey bee ( Apis mellifera ), queen and worker castes originate from identical genetic templates but develop into different phenotypes. Queens lay up to 2,000 eggs daily whereas workers are sterile in the queen’s presence. Periodically queens stop laying; during swarming, when resources are scarce in winter and when they are confined to a ca...
Article
Social insects are notable for having two female castes that exhibit extreme differences in their reproductive capacity. The molecular basis of these differences is largely unknown. Vitellogenin (Vg) is a powerful antioxidant and insulin‐signalling regulator used in oocyte development. Here we investigate how Royal Jelly (the major food of honeybee...
Article
Pheromones are used by many insects to mediate social interactions. In the highly eusocial honeybee (Apis mellifera), queen mandibular pheromone (QMP) is involved in the regulation of the reproductive and other behaviour of workers. The molecular mechanisms by which QMP acts are largely unknown. Here, we investigate how genes responsible for epigen...
Article
Full-text available
How does microbiota research impact our understanding of biological individuality? We summarize the interdisciplinary summer school on “Microbiota, symbiosis and individuality: conceptual and philosophical issues” (July 2019), which was supported by a European Research Council starting grant project “Immunity, DEvelopment, and the Microbiota” (IDEM...
Article
Full-text available
Social insects are characterised by a reproductive division of labour between queens and workers. However, in the majority of social insect species the workers are only facultatively sterile. The Australian stingless bee Tetragonula carbonaria is noteworthy as workers never lay eggs. Here we describe the reproductive anatomy of Tcarbonaria workers,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Social insect reproduction is characterised by a division of labour. Typically, the queen is the sole reproductive female in the colony and the female workers are non-reproductive. However, in the majority of social insect species the workers are only facultatively sterile and remain capable of laying eggs under some conditions, such as when the qu...
Article
Full-text available
The Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) was reported for the first time in the U.S.A. in 2017 and has now spread across 12 states. The potential of this invasive tick vector to transmit pathogens will be determined through its association to hosts, such as the white‐footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), which is the primary reservoir fo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Pheromones are used by many insects to mediate social interactions. In the highly eusocial honey bee (Apis mellifera) queen mandibular pheromone is involved in the regulation of reproduction and the rate of ageing of workers. The molecular mechanisms by which queen mandibular pheromone acts remain largely unknown. Here we investigate how genes resp...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) was reported for the first time in the United States of America in 2017 and has now spread across 12 states. The potential of this invasive tick vector to transmit pathogens will be determined through its association to native hosts, such as the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) which is...
Preprint
Full-text available
Social insects have two or more female castes that exhibit extreme differences in their reproductive capacity. The molecular basis of these differences is largely unknown. In honeybees the egg yolk protein vitellogenin (Vg), has acquired regulatory functions that go beyond reproduction, including the regulation of aging and task polyethism. Vg is s...
Article
Full-text available
The majority of biomedical and biological research relies on a few molecular biology techniques. Here we show that eight key molecular biology techniques would not exist without basic biological research. We also find that the scientific reward system does not sufficiently value basic biological research into molecular mechanisms.
Article
Hymenoptera are haplodiploid: females arise from fertilized, diploid eggs, while males arise from unfertilized, haploid eggs. The cytogenetic mechanisms underlying haplodiploidy enable remarkable phenomena including female cloning, male cloning and gynandromorphy (sex mosaics). We collected 11 newly emerged putative gynandromorph honeybees from a s...
Article
Full-text available
Haplodiploid insects reproduce both sexually and asexually; haploid males arise from unfertilized eggs, while diploid females arise from fertilized eggs. Some species can also produce female offspring by thelytokous parthenogenesis. For example, queenless workers of the Cape honey bee, Apis mellifera capensis, of South Africa can produce diploid fe...
Article
In the social insects, ovary state (the presence or absence of mature oocytes) and ovary size (the number of ovarioles) are often used as proxies for the reproductive capacity of an individual worker. Ovary size is assumed to be fixed post-eclosion whereas ovary state is demonstrably plastic post-eclosion. Here, we show that in fact ovary size decl...
Article
A striking characteristic of the highly successful techniques in molecular biology is that they are derived from natural occurring systems. RNA interference (RNAi), for example, utilises a mechanism that evolved in eukaryotes to destroy foreign nucleic acid. Other examples include restriction enzymes, the polymerase chain reaction, fluorescent prot...
Article
In social insect colonies the presence of a queen, secreting her pheromones, is a key environmental cue for regulating the reproductive state of workers. However, until recently the proximate molecular mechanisms underlying facultative worker sterility were unidentified. Studies into worker oogenesis in the honey bee (Apis mellifera) have indicated...
Article
Extreme reproductive skew towards particular females is a defining feature of the eusocial Hymenoptera and workers are completely sterile in at least 13 genera. The evolution of worker sterility is problematic because an individual that has decreased fertility has reduced direct fitness. Here we review the major theories that seek to explain the ev...
Article
Worker sterility is a defining characteristic of eusociality. The existence of the sterile worker caste remains a fundamental question for evolutionary biology as it requires the existence of genes that reduce personal reproduction. Currently, little is known about the proximate mechanisms underpinning worker sterility. Studies into a mutant “anarc...
Article
Reproductive division of labour characterises eusociality. Currently little is known about the mechanisms that underlie the 'sterility' of the worker caste, but queen pheromone plays a major role in regulating the reproductive state. Here we investigate oogenesis in the young adult honey bee worker ovary in the presence of queen pheromone and in it...

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