Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Out Of Africa: Scientists Uncover History Of Honey Bee

Date:
October 27, 2006
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
"Every honey bee alive today had a common ancestor in Africa" is one conclusion drawn by a team of scientists that probed the origin of the species and the movements of introduced populations, including African "killer" bees in the New World.

Entomologist Charles A. Whitfield lead the research team that says"every honey bee alive today had a common ancestor in Africa."
Credit: Photo courtesy Institute for Genomic Biology

"Every honey bee alive today had a common ancestor in Africa" is one conclusion drawn by a team of scientists that probed the origin of the species and the movements of introduced populations, including African "killer" bees in the New World.

Related Articles


"Our analysis indicates that the honey bee, Apis mellifera, originated in Africa and spread into Europe by at least two ancient migrations," said Charles W. Whitfield, a professor of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who is the lead author of a paper to appear in the Oct. 27 issue of the journal Science.

"The migrations resulted in two European populations that are geographically close, but genetically quite different," Whitfield said. "In fact, the two European populations are more related to honey bees in Africa than to each other."

To explore the movements of bee populations, the researchers used simple variations in DNA called SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) markers. "An SNP marker can tell you a lot about which bee is related to which bee, and where a particular bee came from," said Whitfield, who is also an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology at the U. of I.

While previous studies relied upon a handful of markers, Whitfield and his collaborators used the recently sequenced honey bee genome to locate and compare 1,136 markers. The vast increase in markers provided a level of detail never before possible in the genetic analysis of honey bees.

The genus Apis is composed of 10 species, nine of which are confined to Asia. The one exception, A. mellifera, is distributed from sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia to Northern Europe, and has more than two dozen distinct geographical subspecies.

In the New World, introductions of the western and northern European subspecies A. mellifera mellifera began in North America as early as 1622. This was followed by introductions of at least eight additional subspecies from different parts of Europe, the Near East and northern Africa.

In 1956, a subspecies from the savannahs of Africa, A. m. scutellata, was introduced to Brazil in an attempt to increase honey production. The descendants of these African honey bees rapidly spread northward and southward from Brazil, hybridizing with and displacing previously introduced European honey bees.

"Clearly, these African 'killer' bees are more aggressive and exhibit other traits that beekeepers and bee breeders dislike," Whitfield said. "By studying variation in the honey bee genome, we can not only monitor the movement of these bees, we can also identify the genes that cause the variations -- and that will allow us to better understand the differences."

The study was conducted by Whitfield and colleagues at the U. of I., Cornell University, Texas A&M University, the University of California at Irvine, the University of Kansas, Washington State University, and Bee Weaver Apiaries in Navasota, Texas.

The study was funded by the Institute for Genomic Biology and the School of Integrated Biology at the U. of I., the University of Illinois Research Board, and the California Department of Consumer Affairs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Out Of Africa: Scientists Uncover History Of Honey Bee." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061025181534.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2006, October 27). Out Of Africa: Scientists Uncover History Of Honey Bee. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061025181534.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Out Of Africa: Scientists Uncover History Of Honey Bee." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061025181534.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) — A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) — The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) — Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins