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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DIFFERENTIAL GENE EXPRESSION OF MEGACHILE ROTUNDATA FEMALES PERFORMING VARIOUS NESTING BEHAVIORS

Location: Pollinating Insects-- Biology, Management and Systematics Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research is to raise and manipulate M. rotundata females nesting in field cages so as to capture the bees while performing specific behaviors related to different behavioral and physiological states. Genetic analysis of bees collected in the different states will be performed to determine any differential gene expression between states. This study is part of a larger sociogenomic study for exploring the molecular evolution of sociality in Hymenoptera.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Megachile rotundata adults will be reared in the ARS laboratory. The adult bees will then be released into field cages where their nesting activities will be monitored and manipulated for obtaining bees of different behavioral and physiological states. Freezer-killed adults will be shipped/transported to University of Illinois where bees will be dissected and genetic analyses will be performed.


3.Progress Report

Genetic analysis of bees collected in the different developmental, physiological and behavioral states are being performed to determine any differential gene expression between states. In FY 2009, a University of Illinois graduate student reared M. rotundata in the ARS facility for performing both laboratory and field cage studies. She monitored mating and nesting activities, devised feeding protocols, and manipulated food sources for larvae in order to collect bees in different behavioral and physiological states. She freezer-killed adults and shipped them to University of Illinois for analyses of brain gene expression. She found that hundreds of genes were differentially expressed between female bees of different ages, while few genes were differentially expressed between virgin and mated females. She also experimented with larval and adult feeding protocols and used results from those trials for a larger scale feeding experiment in the FY 2010. In FY 2010, she reared bees on manipulated larval diets. She freezer-killed larvae and shipped them to University of Illinois for analyses of gene expression. She also compared morphology, physiology, and behavior of diapausing and non-diapausing females in the field and laboratory. In FY 2011, she is rearing early-laid eggs and late-laid eggs on manipulated food provisions to study the effects of nutrition on bee development. She is also making observations of nesting behavior of bees she reared on manipulated food in 2010. This study is part of a larger sociogenomic study for exploring the molecular evolution of sociality in Hymenoptera. ADODR monitoring activities to evaluate research progress included phone calls, emails, and on-site meetings and hands-on work with graduate student at ARS location.


Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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