Submitted to: Journal of Heredity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/18/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Molecular analysis of DNA has become a standard tool in the study of evolution. Because honey bees are an important beneficial insect that are often studied, much is known about their DNA. The objective of this study was to determine if several molecular markers that are used to distinguish between honey bee races, could also be used to determine the relatedness of similar insects. The markers that were used for this study are all present in a specific region of the DNA that codes for one enzyme and is found in all the insect species compared. DNA sequences were determined for six species of bees and wasps, and compared to the honey bee. The evolutionary relationships of these and seven other similar species were determined. Several of the bee species were more closely related to honey bees than has been shown by comparisons using other regions of the DNA molecule. Our study supports the suggestion that different regions of DNA may evolve at different rates, giving conflicting evolutionary relationships. This information will be used primarily by research scientists interested in the evolution of social insects.
Technical Abstract: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes are commonly used to determine relationships between species. We were interested in determining whether a mitochondrial marker used for honey bee subspecies determination would be useful for determining phylogenetic relationships of other Hymenoptera. To do this we collected workers of six local Hymenoptera, Vespa crabro - the European hornet, Bombus impatiens - a bumble bee, Vespula germanica - the German yellow jacket, Polistes fuscatus - a paper wasp, Halictus ligatus - an alkali bee, and an unspecified Megachile - a leafcutter bee, and isolated and amplified their mtDNA at the cytochrome b locus. Each sample was digested with six different endonucleases (Ava I, Bgl II, EcoR I, Hind III, Hinf I, Xba I). The digested DNA was electrophoresed and visualized on agarose gels. Each sample was compared to a standard fragment marker and similarly treated honey bee mtDNA. Fragment lengths and possible restriction sites were determined. The mtDNA fragments obtained were also purified and DNA sequences determined. Phylogenetic relationships between six wasp and bee species, Apis mellifera, and several other similar aculeate Hymenoptera were determined. Newly defined sequences were posted to GenBank (AF281169 - AF281174).