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Support for the reproductive ground plan hypothesis of social evolution and major QTL for ovary traits of Africanized worker honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)

Description

Background
The reproductive ground plan hypothesis of social evolution suggests that reproductive controls of a solitary ancestor have been co-opted during social evolution, facilitating the division of labor among social

Background
The reproductive ground plan hypothesis of social evolution suggests that reproductive controls of a solitary ancestor have been co-opted during social evolution, facilitating the division of labor among social insect workers. Despite substantial empirical support, the generality of this hypothesis is not universally accepted. Thus, we investigated the prediction of particular genes with pleiotropic effects on ovarian traits and social behavior in worker honey bees as a stringent test of the reproductive ground plan hypothesis. We complemented these tests with a comprehensive genome scan for additional quantitative trait loci (QTL) to gain a better understanding of the genetic architecture of the ovary size of honey bee workers, a morphological trait that is significant for understanding social insect caste evolution and general insect biology.
Results
Back-crossing hybrid European x Africanized honey bee queens to the Africanized parent colony generated two study populations with extraordinarily large worker ovaries. Despite the transgressive ovary phenotypes, several previously mapped QTL for social foraging behavior demonstrated ovary size effects, confirming the prediction of pleiotropic genetic effects on reproductive traits and social behavior. One major QTL for ovary size was detected in each backcross, along with several smaller effects and two QTL for ovary asymmetry. One of the main ovary size QTL coincided with a major QTL for ovary activation, explaining 3/4 of the phenotypic variance, although no simple positive correlation between ovary size and activation was observed.
Conclusions
Our results provide strong support for the reproductive ground plan hypothesis of evolution in study populations that are independent of the genetic stocks that originally led to the formulation of this hypothesis. As predicted, worker ovary size is genetically linked to multiple correlated traits of the complex division of labor in worker honey bees, known as the pollen hoarding syndrome. The genetic architecture of worker ovary size presumably consists of a combination of trait-specific loci and general regulators that affect the whole behavioral syndrome and may even play a role in caste determination. Several promising candidate genes in the QTL intervals await further study to clarify their potential role in social insect evolution and the regulation of insect fertility in general.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2011-04-13

Genomic correlates of recombination rate and its variability across eight recombination maps in the western honey bee (Apis mellifera L.)

Description

Background
Meiotic recombination has traditionally been explained based on the structural requirement to stabilize homologous chromosome pairs to ensure their proper meiotic segregation. Competing hypotheses seek to explain the emerging

Background
Meiotic recombination has traditionally been explained based on the structural requirement to stabilize homologous chromosome pairs to ensure their proper meiotic segregation. Competing hypotheses seek to explain the emerging findings of significant heterogeneity in recombination rates within and between genomes, but intraspecific comparisons of genome-wide recombination patterns are rare. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) exhibits the highest rate of genomic recombination among multicellular animals with about five cross-over events per chromatid.
Results
Here, we present a comparative analysis of recombination rates across eight genetic linkage maps of the honey bee genome to investigate which genomic sequence features are correlated with recombination rate and with its variation across the eight data sets, ranging in average marker spacing ranging from 1 Mbp to 120 kbp. Overall, we found that GC content explained best the variation in local recombination rate along chromosomes at the analyzed 100 kbp scale. In contrast, variation among the different maps was correlated to the abundance of microsatellites and several specific tri- and tetra-nucleotides.
Conclusions
The combined evidence from eight medium-scale recombination maps of the honey bee genome suggests that recombination rate variation in this highly recombining genome might be due to the DNA configuration instead of distinct sequence motifs. However, more fine-scale analyses are needed. The empirical basis of eight differing genetic maps allowed for robust conclusions about the correlates of the local recombination rates and enabled the study of the relation between DNA features and variability in local recombination rates, which is particularly relevant in the honey bee genome with its exceptionally high recombination rate.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-02-21

The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organization

Description

Background
The shift from solitary to social behavior is one of the major evolutionary transitions. Primitively eusocial bumblebees are uniquely placed to illuminate the evolution of highly eusocial insect societies.

Background
The shift from solitary to social behavior is one of the major evolutionary transitions. Primitively eusocial bumblebees are uniquely placed to illuminate the evolution of highly eusocial insect societies. Bumblebees are also invaluable natural and agricultural pollinators, and there is widespread concern over recent population declines in some species. High-quality genomic data will inform key aspects of bumblebee biology, including susceptibility to implicated population viability threats.

Results
We report the high quality draft genome sequences of Bombus terrestris and Bombus impatiens, two ecologically dominant bumblebees and widely utilized study species. Comparing these new genomes to those of the highly eusocial honeybee Apis mellifera and other Hymenoptera, we identify deeply conserved similarities, as well as novelties key to the biology of these organisms. Some honeybee genome features thought to underpin advanced eusociality are also present in bumblebees, indicating an earlier evolution in the bee lineage. Xenobiotic detoxification and immune genes are similarly depauperate in bumblebees and honeybees, and multiple categories of genes linked to social organization, including development and behavior, show high conservation. Key differences identified include a bias in bumblebee chemoreception towards gustation from olfaction, and striking differences in microRNAs, potentially responsible for gene regulation underlying social and other traits.

Conclusions
These two bumblebee genomes provide a foundation for post-genomic research on these key pollinators and insect societies. Overall, gene repertoires suggest that the route to advanced eusociality in bees was mediated by many small changes in many genes and processes, and not by notable expansion or depauperation.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-04-24