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Candidate genes for defence behavior in Africanized Apis mellifera honeybees

Grant number: 14/10150-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 08, 2014
Effective date (End): May 07, 2015
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Animal Husbandry - Genetics and Improvement of Domestic Animals
Principal Investigator:Ricardo de Oliveira Orsi
Grantee:Samir Moura Kadri
Supervisor: Amro Zayed
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil
Research place: York University, Canada  
Associated to the scholarship:13/01588-1 - Identification of polymorphic regions in Apis mellifera L. honeybees focused in honey productivity and field validation tests, BP.DR


Apis mellifera is an ancient insect, which has had association with humans for a long time. In Brazil, European subspecies were brought two centuries ago. These subspecies predominated in Brazil until 1956, when African bees (Apis mellifera scutellata) were introduced. After this period in all national territory Africanized honeybees have been found with some differences in behavior (more defensive), morphology, and production. In the 60s, with the expansion of Africanized bees and their high defensive instinct, many commercial beekeepers reduced their apiaries. Nowadays beekeeping has been one of the most developed fields in agriculture and because of it many studies of breeding to increase the productions and lower the defence behavior are being carried out. Some molecular tools are being used to know more about Apis mellifera behavior, for example Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) that are believed to be the most frequent form of genetic variability. Some SNPs can be associated with behavior genes. Thus, the aim of this research project is to identify candidate genes for defence behavior in two distinct groups of Africanized Apis mellifera honeybees from São Paulo State, Brazil. One hundred and seventeen beehives of Africanized honeybees from a commercial apiary in Iaras city, São Paulo, Brazil will be used. The defence behavior data collection will be done during eucalyptus blossom, from January to May 2014. To measure the defence behavior of the colonies, the sting in a minute in the Black Suede Ball test will be done in triplicate. The colonies will be divided into two groups, high and low defence behavior. Ten worker bees will be collected from each beehive and stored in alcohol 95% in nontoxic plastic containers, properly identified. The genetic analyses will be done in Amro Zayed Lab, York University, directed by Dr. Amro Zayed. He has an excellent curriculum and wide experience in population genetic studies, being responsible by developing many studies with Apis mellifera subspecies and population genetics studies around the world. We will pick 100 to 200 SNPs that are likely associated with defensive behaviour, we will identify mutations that are in previously mapped QTL regions affecting behaviour from previous studies, and in genes that differ in expression in association with defensive behaviour in honey bees. We will also pick 100 SNPs at random from the bee genome. These SNP´s will be genotyped in the 10 workers from the high and low aggression colonies using sequanom or Illumina golden gate assays. We will compare the allele frequency of each mutation in the high and low aggression colonies using a chi2 test. SNPs that influence defensive behaviour are expected to have allele frequencies that are significantly different between high and low aggression colonies. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
HARPUR, BROCK A.; KADRI, SAMIR M.; ORSI, RICARDO O.; WHITFIELD, CHARLES W.; ZAYED, AMRO. Defense Response in Brazilian Honey Bees (Apis mellifera scutellata x spp.) Is Underpinned by Complex Patterns of Admixture. GENOME BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, v. 12, n. 8, p. 1367-1377, . (14/10150-2)

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