Whole-genome resequencing of honeybee drones to detect genomic selection in a population managed for royal jelly

Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 3:6:27168. doi: 10.1038/srep27168.


Four main evolutionary lineages of A. mellifera have been described including eastern Europe (C) and western and northern Europe (M). Many apiculturists prefer bees from the C lineage due to their docility and high productivity. In France, the routine importation of bees from the C lineage has resulted in the widespread admixture of bees from the M lineage. The haplodiploid nature of the honeybee Apis mellifera, and its small genome size, permits affordable and extensive genomics studies. As a pilot study of a larger project to characterise French honeybee populations, we sequenced 60 drones sampled from two commercial populations managed for the production of honey and royal jelly. Results indicate a C lineage origin, whilst mitochondrial analysis suggests two drones originated from the O lineage. Analysis of heterozygous SNPs identified potential copy number variants near to genes encoding odorant binding proteins and several cytochrome P450 genes. Signatures of selection were detected using the hapFLK haplotype-based method, revealing several regions under putative selection for royal jelly production. The framework developed during this study will be applied to a broader sampling regime, allowing the genetic diversity of French honeybees to be characterised in detail.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees / genetics*
  • Fatty Acids
  • Genetics, Population
  • Genome Size
  • Genome, Insect*
  • Haploidy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Whole Genome Sequencing / methods*


  • Fatty Acids
  • royal jelly