Honey bee predisposition of resistance to ubiquitous mite infestations

Broeckx, Bart J. G.; De Smet, Lina; Blacquière, Tjeerd; Maebe, Kevin; Khalenkow, Mikalaï; Van Poucke, Mario; Dahle, Bjorn; Neumann, Peter; Bach Nguyen, Kim; Smagghe, Guy; Deforce, Dieter; Van Nieuwerburgh, Filip; Peelman, Luc; de Graaf, Dirk C. (2019). Honey bee predisposition of resistance to ubiquitous mite infestations. Scientific reports, 9(1), p. 7794. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41598-019-44254-8

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Host-parasite co-evolution history is lacking when parasites switch to novel hosts. This was the case for Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) when the ectoparasitic mite, Varroa destructor, switched hosts from Eastern honey bees (Apis cerana). This mite has since become the most severe biological threat to A. mellifera worldwide. However, some A. mellifera populations are known to survive infestations, largely by suppressing mite population growth. One known mechanism is suppressed mite reproduction (SMR), but the underlying genetics are poorly understood. Here, we take advantage of haploid drones, originating from one queen from the Netherlands that developed Varroa-resistance, whole exome sequencing and elastic-net regression to identify genetic variants associated with SMR in resistant honeybees. An eight variants model predicted 88% of the phenotypes correctly and identified six risk and two protective variants. Reproducing and non-reproducing mites could not be distinguished using DNA microsatellites, which is in agreement with the hypothesis that it is not the parasite but the host that adapted itself. Our results suggest that the brood pheromone-dependent mite oogenesis is disrupted in resistant hosts. The identified genetic markers have a considerable potential to contribute to a sustainable global apiculture.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Institute of Bee Health

UniBE Contributor:

Neumann, Peter

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

2045-2322

Publisher:

Springer Nature

Language:

English

Submitter:

Anna Papach

Date Deposited:

27 Mar 2020 09:28

Last Modified:

13 Mar 2021 14:51

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/s41598-019-44254-8

PubMed ID:

31127129

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.142067

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/142067

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