Here's the introduction:
In 1712, the English scholar Joseph Warder dedicated his treatise, The True Amazons: Or, The Monarchy of Bees, to Queen Anne, citing the caste divisions of the hive--the queen built for breeding and the workers tending her and her brood, foraging, and dying to defend their home--as evidence that nature adored royalty. But much of what entomologists have learned since then has made the lives of bees and other social insects seem closer to the American dream: Given the right nurturing--a diet of royal jelly in honeybees, or being reared at a certain temperature in some ants--any female grub in a beehive or in an ant's nest can grow up to be queen.
At least this nurture-over-nature paradigm was the prevailing wisdom, backed by theory that argued that any gene that required a developing insect to become a sterile worker would be committing evolutionary suicide. But a few years ago, social-insect research was rocked by the discovery that in some ant species, workers and queens are determined by their genes--in other words, born, not made.