Dec 10, 2014

Reproductive workers show queen-like gene expression in an intermediately eusocial insect, the buff-tailed bumble bee Bombus terrestris

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Mark C HarrisonEamonn B Mallon

Abstract

Bumble bees represent a taxon with an intermediate level of eusociality within Hymenoptera. The clear division of reproduction between a single founding queen and the largely sterile workers is characteristic for highly eusocial species, whereas the morphological similarity between the bumble bee queen and the workers is typical for more primitively eusocial hymenopterans. Also, unlike other highly eusocial hymenopterans, division of labour among worker sub-castes is plastic and not predetermined by morphology or age. We conducted a differential expression analysis based on RNA-seq data from 11 combinations of developmental stage and caste to investigate how a single genome can produce the distinct castes of queens, workers and males in the buff-tailed bumble bee Bombus terrestris . Based on expression patterns, we found males to be the most distinct of all adult castes (2,411 transcripts differentially expressed compared to non-reproductive workers). However, only relatively few transcripts were differentially expressed between males and workers during development (larvae: 71, pupae: 162). This indicates the need for more distinct expression patterns to control behaviour and physiology in adults compared to those required to c...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Fertility
Apis mellifera
Bombus
Genome
Sequence Determinations, RNA
Science of Morphology
Reproduction
Boissonneaua flavescens
Gene Expression
Hymenoptera

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