Bumblebee,10.1007/978-3-540-73833-6_2,Lena Wilfert,Paul Schmid-Hempel,Jürgen Gadau

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Bumblebees are important pollinators in both natural and agricultural settings. Bombus terrestris, the European buff-tailed bumblebee, is of particular economic importance in the pollination of many greenhouse crops. It is also a model organism in basic research in fields such as ecology, evolutionary biology, and physiology. Particularly, it is an emerging model species for quantitative and population genetics. Several genetic linkage maps have been produced for this species. Map construction is facilitated by the large numbers of haploid sons which may be produced by an individual queen of this primitively eusocial hymenopteran. These haploid males are genetically equivalent to gametes, and allow the direct estimation of the recombination frequency in the mother. A core linkage map of 14 homologous linkage groups has been determined. This species’ total recombination genome length has been consistently estimated at around 2,700–2,800 cM using a methods-of-moments approach. The genomic recombination rate is thus estimated to be 226 kb/cM. Other genomic tools developed for B. terrestris include a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library as well as several cDNA libraries enriched with genes relevant for caste determination. Research in bumblebee genomics also profits greatly from developments in the honeybee Apis mellifera. For example, sequence homology between these hymenoptera is great enough to allow the isolation of honeybee candidate genes in the bumblebee. Genetic linkage maps have so far been used for mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL) for host-parasite susceptibility, immune defense, and male sexual investment. Additionally, the sex determination locus has been mapped. QTL mapping not only allows insights into the genetic architecture of fitness-relevant traits, but also may enable molecular assisted breeding for pathogen resistance or improved agricultural traits.
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