Genetic architecture of ovary size and asymmetry in European honeybee workers

O. Rueppell, J. D. Metheny, T. Linksvayer, M. K. Fondrk, Robert Page, Gro Amdam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The molecular basis of complex traits is increasingly understood but a remaining challenge is to identify their co-regulation and inter-dependence. Pollen hoarding (pln) in honeybees is a complex trait associated with a well-characterized suite of linked behavioral and physiological traits. In European honeybee stocks bidirectionally selected for pln, worker (sterile helper) ovary size is pleiotropically affected by quantitative trait loci that were initially identified for their effect on foraging behavior. To gain a better understanding of the genetic architecture of worker ovary size in this model system, we analyzed a series of crosses between the selected strains. The crossing results were heterogeneous and suggested non-additive effects. Three significant and three suggestive quantitative trait loci of relatively large effect sizes were found in two reciprocal backcrosses. These loci are not located in genome regions of known effects on foraging behavior but contain several interesting candidate genes that may specifically affect worker-ovary size. Thus, the genetic architecture of this life history syndrome may be comprised of pleiotropic, central regulators that influence several linked traits and other genetic factors that may be downstream and trait specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-903
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Apis mellifera
  • QTL
  • ovarioles
  • social evolution
  • trait network
  • worker caste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic architecture of ovary size and asymmetry in European honeybee workers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this