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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Baton Rouge, Louisiana » Honey Bee Lab » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #352796

Research Project: Genetics and Breeding in Support of Honey Bee Health

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Genome of the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida, Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), a worldwide parasite of social bee colonies, provides insights into detoxification and herbivory

Author
item Evans, Jay
item MCKENNA, DUANE - UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
item Scully, Erin
item Cook, Steven
item DAINAT, BENJAMIN - SWISS BEE RESEARCH CENTER
item EGEKWU, NOBLE
item GRUBBS, NATHAN - NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Lopez, Dawn
item LORENZEN, MARCE - NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
item REYNA, STEVEN - NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Rinkevich, Frank
item NEUMANN, PETER - UNIVERSITY OF BERN
item HUANG, QIANG - JIANGXI AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Gigascience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/8/2018
Publication Date: 12/7/2018
Citation: Evans, J.D., McKenna, D., Scully, E.D., Cook, S.C., Dainat, B., Egekwu, N.I., Grubbs, N., Lopez, D.L., Lorenzen, M., Reyna, S.M., Rinkevich Jr, F.D., Neumann, P., Huang, Q. 2018. Genome of the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida, Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), a worldwide parasite of social bee colonies, provides insights into detoxification and herbivory. Gigascience. 7(12):1-16. https://doi.org/10.1093/gigascience/giy138.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/gigascience/giy138

Interpretive Summary: The small hive beetle is an important parasite of honey bee colonies and its range is rapidly expanding across the globe. Therefore, understanding the genome of this pest will provide insights in to its behavior and control in order to develop management strategies to reduce the impact of small hive beetle on honey managed honey bee colonies. More than 14,000 genes were identified in the small hive beetle genome. There were less genes in the small hive beetle genome involved in digestion of plant material and less genes for taste detection compared to other beetles. However, the small hive beetle genome contained more genes for detoxification and metabolism of plant chemicals and insecticides compared to other beetles. This preliminary investigation suggests that the small hive beetle is adapted to the opportunistic exploitation of variable resources in a honey bee colony. This research will serve as a foundation to develop targeted control practices to minimize the impact on honey bees.

Technical Abstract: The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida, ATUMI) is an invasive parasite of bee colonies. ATUMI feeds on both fruits and bee nest products, facilitating its spread and increasing its impact on honey bees and other pollinators. We have sequenced and annotated the ATUMI genome, providing the first genomic resources for this species and for the Nitidulidae, a beetle family that is closely related to the extraordinarily species-rich clade of beetles known as the Phytophaga. ATUMI thus provides a basal view of one of the most successful known animal groups. Results: The ATUMI genome encodes fewer enzymes for plant digestion than the genomes of wood-feeding beetles, but nonetheless shows signs of broad metabolic plasticity. Gustatory receptors are few in number compared to other beetles, especially receptors with known sensitivity (in other beetles) to bitter substances. In contrast, several gene families implicated in detoxification of insecticides and adaptation to diverse dietary resources show increased copy numbers. The presence and diversity of homologs involved in detoxification differs substantially from the bee hosts of ATUMI. Conclusions: Metabolic plasticity and a wide array of metabolic enzymes could allow ATUMI to exploit diverse food sources within bee colonies, including plant material, hive products, and bees themselves. A minimal set of gustatory receptors is consistent with the observation that, once a host colony is invaded, food resources are predictable. Our results provide new insights into the genomic basis for local adaption and invasiveness in ATUMI, and a blueprint for control strategies that target this pest without harming their honey bee hosts.