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Genetics. 2004 May;167(1):243-52.

Whole-genome scan in thelytokous-laying workers of the Cape honeybee (Apis mellifera capensis): central fusion, reduced recombination rates and centromere mapping using half-tetrad analysis.

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Laboratoire Populations, Génétique et Evolution, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.


While workers of almost all subspecies of honeybee are able to lay only haploid male eggs, Apis mellifera capensis workers are able to produce diploid female eggs by thelytokous parthenogenesis. Cytological analyses have shown that during parthenogenesis, egg diploidy is restored by fusion of the two central meiotic products. This peculiarity of the Cape bee preserves two products of a single meiosis in the daughters and can be used to map centromere positions using half-tetrad analysis. In this study, we use the thelytokous progenies of A. m. capensis workers and a sample of individuals from a naturally occurring A. m. capensis thelytokous clone to map centromere position for most of the linkage groups of the honeybee. We also show that the recombination rate is reduced by >10-fold during the meiosis of A. m. capensis workers. This reduction is restricted to thelytokous parthenogenesis of capensis workers and is not observed in the meiosis of queen within the same subspecies or in arrhenotokous workers of another subspecies. The reduced rate of recombination seems to be associated with negative crossover interference. These results are discussed in relation to evolution of thelytokous parthenogenesis and maintenance of heterozygosity and female sex after thelytoky.

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