Unusually high recombination rate detected in the sex locus region of the honey bee (Apis mellifera)

Martin Beye, Greg J. Hunt, Robert E. Page, M. Kim Fondrk, Lore Grohmann, R. F.A. Moritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Sex determination in Hymenoptera is controlled by haplo- diploidy in which unfertilized eggs develop into fertile haploid males. A single sex determination locus with several complementary alleles was proposed for Hymenoptera [so-called complementary sex determination (CSD)]. Heterozygotes at the sex determination locus are normal, fertile females, whereas diploid zygotes that are homozygous develop into sterile males. This results in a strong heterozygote advantage, and the sex locus exhibits extreme polymorphism maintained by overdominant selection. We characterized the sex-determining region by genetic linkage and physical mapping analyses. Detailed linkage and physical mapping studies showed that the recombination rate is <44 kb/cM in the sex-determining region. Comparing genetic map distance along the linkage group III in three crosses revealed a large marker gap in the sex-determining region, suggesting that the recombination rate is high. We suggest that a 'hotspot' for recombination has resulted here because of selection for combining favorable genotypes, and perhaps as a result of selection against deleterious mutations. The mapping data, based on long-range restriction mapping, suggest that the Q DNA-marker is within 20,000 bp of the sex locus, which should accelerate molecular analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1701-1708
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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