Honey bees

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Genetics

Main article: Apis mellifera

The chromosome counts of female bees for the three clades are: Micrapis 2N = 16, Megapis 2N = 16, and Apis 2N = 32. Drones of all species have 1N chromosome counts. The genome of Apis has been mapped.

Drones (males) are produced from unfertilized eggs, so represent only the DNA of the queen that laid the eggs, i.e. have only a mother. Workers and queens (both female) result from fertilized eggs, so have both a mother and a father. Arrhenotokous parthenogenesis, a modified form of parthenogenesis, controls sex differentiation. The sex allele is polymorphic, and so long as two different variants are present, a female bee results. If both sex alleles are identical, diploid drones are produced. Honey bees detect and destroy diploid drones after the eggs hatch.

Queens typically mate with multiple drones on more than one mating flight. Once mated, they lay eggs and fertilize them as needed from sperm stored in the spermatheca. Since the number of sex alleles is limited at a regional level – about 116-145 are estimated to exist worldwide in Apis Mellifera ref: Lechner 2013  – a queen will most likely mate with one or more drones having sex alleles identical with one of the sex alleles in the queen. The queen, then, typically produces a percentage of diploid drone eggs.

Micrapis

Apis florea and Apis andreniformis are small honey bees of southern and southeastern Asia. They make very small, exposed nests in trees and shrubs. Their stings are often incapable of penetrating human skin, so the hive and swarms can be handled with minimal protection. They occur largely sympatrically, though they are very distinct evolutionarily and are probably the result of allopatric speciation, their distribution later converging. Given that A. florea is more widely distributed and A. andreniformis is considerably more aggressive, honey is, if at all, usually harvested from the former only. They are the most ancient extant lineage of honey bees, maybe diverging in the Bartonian (some 40 million years ago or slightly later) from the other lineages, but do not seem to have diverged from each other a long time before the Neogene.[10] Apis florea have smaller wing spans than its sister species.[11] Apis florea are also completely yellow with the exception of the scutellum of workers, which is black.[11]