Feb 7, 2017

The Complex Demographic History and Evolutionary Origin of the Western Honey Bee, Apis Mellifera

Genome Biology and Evolution
Julie M CridlandSantiago R Ramírez


The western honey bee, Apis mellifera, provides critical pollination services to agricultural crops worldwide. However, despite substantial interest and prior investigation, the early evolution and subsequent diversification of this important pollinator remain uncertain. The primary hypotheses place the origin of A. mellifera in either Asia or Africa, with subsequent radiations proceeding from one of these regions. Here, we use two publicly available whole-genome data sets plus newly sequenced genomes and apply multiple population genetic analysis methods to investigate the patterns of ancestry and admixture in native honey bee populations from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The combination of these data sets is critical to the analyses, as each contributes samples from geographic locations lacking in the other, thereby producing the most complete set of honey bee populations available to date. We find evidence supporting an origin of A. mellifera in the Middle East or North Eastern Africa, with the A and Y lineages representing the earliest branching lineages. This finding has similarities with multiple contradictory hypotheses and represents a disentangling of genetic relationships, geographic proximity, and secondary c...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Apis mellifera
Crops, Agricultural
Health Services
Genetic Analysis
Genetic Screening Method
SPP2 dioxygenase
Apis mellifera preparation

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