Genomic Signatures of Bee Diversity

Tuesday, November 12, 2013: 11:40 AM
Meeting Room 6 B (Austin Convention Center)
Karen Kapheim , Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Cai Li , China National Genebank, BGI-Shenzhen, ME
Hailin Pan , China National Genebank, BGI-Shenzhen, China
Guojie Zhang , BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China
Gene E. Robinson , Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Social diversity in bees is unparalleled in other groups of organisms, because while many bee species live solitary lifestyles, others vary dramatically in the size and complexity of their societies. This variation provides a unique opportunity for understanding the molecular basis of social diversity within an evolutionary framework. We used comparative genomics to identify molecular targets of selection, investigate patterns of genomic plasticity through methylation and gene regulation, and describe patterns of gene family evolution, as they relate to social diversity across species. Our analysis includes de novo whole genome sequencing of five species from three families of bees that represent a well-characterized spectrum of social organization. We include an additional five species with independently sequenced genomes for a comprehensive study of sociogenomics while balancing ecology, life history, and phylogenetic history. We present results from these analyses at two levels of social evolution in tandem: the transition from a solitary lifestyle to eusociality and the evolution of the more elaborate forms of eusociality. We discuss resulting insights into the mechanisms underlying convergent phenotypes, to better understand those aspects that are most conserved in bee social diversity and those that are unique to each species.
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