Two quantitative trait loci are associated with recapping of Varroa destructor-infested brood cells in Apis mellifera mellifera

Anim Genet. 2022 Feb;53(1):156-160. doi: 10.1111/age.13150. Epub 2021 Nov 2.


Recapping of Varroa destructor-infested brood cells is a trait that has recently attracted interest in honey bee breeding to select mite-resistant Apis mellifera colonies. To investigate the genetic architecture of this trait, we evaluated a sample of A. mellifera mellifera colonies (N = 155) from Switzerland and France and performed a genome-wide association study, using a pool of 500 workers per colony for next-generation sequencing. The results revealed that two QTL were significantly (P < 0.05) associated with recapping of V. destructor-infested brood cells. The best-associated QTL is located on chromosome 5 in a region previously found to be associated with grooming behaviour, a resistance trait against V. destructor, in A. mellifera and Apis cerana. The second best-associated QTL is located on chromosome 4 in an intron of the Dscam gene, which is involved in neuronal wiring. Previous research demonstrated that genes involved in neuronal wiring are associated with recapping and varroa sensitive hygiene. Therefore, our study confirms the role of a gene region on chromosome 5 in social immunity and simultaneously provides novel insights into genetic interactions between common mite resistance traits in honey bees.

Keywords: Dscam; Wnt7; ataxin-10; genome-wide association study; honey bee; pool sequences; recapping.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees / genetics*
  • Bees / parasitology
  • France
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Nesting Behavior*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Reproduction
  • Switzerland
  • Varroidae / physiology*