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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #391117

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees Against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Chromosome-scale genome assembly of the high royal jelly-producing honeybees

Author
item CAO, LIANFEI - Zhejiang Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item ZHAO, XIAOMENG - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item Chen, Yanping - Judy
item SUN, CHENG - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences

Submitted to: Scientific Data
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/3/2021
Publication Date: 11/23/2021
Citation: Cao, L., Zhao, X., Chen, Y., Sun, C. 2021. Chromosome-scale genome assembly of the high royal jelly-producing honeybees. Scientific Data. 8:302. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-01091-7.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-01091-7

Interpretive Summary: Royal jelly, also called bee milk, is a nutrient-rich food produced by worker bees to feed young larvae and developing queens. The selection and breeding of high royal jelly producing strains of honey bees have been conducted for decades worldwide. A high royal jelly-producing strain of honeybees (HRJHB) was obtained in China through successive artificial selection of Italian honeybees, however, genetic characteristics of the HRJHB remain largely unknown. Here, we present and analyze the complete genome of the HRJHB. The HRJHB's genome sequence and molecular characterization of the high royal jelly-producing traits in honeybee would provide a valuable resource for breeding programs toward genetic improvements and should be of interest to researchers, graduate students, beekeepers, and policymakers worldwide.

Technical Abstract: A high royal jelly-producing strain of honeybees (HRJHB) has been obtained by successive artificial selection of Italian honeybees (Apis mellifera ligustica) in China. The HRJHB can produce amounts of royal jelly that are dozens of times greater than their original counterparts, which has promoted China to be the largest producer of royal jelly in the world. In this study, we generated a chromosome-scale of the genome sequence for the HRJHB using PacBio long reads and Hi-C technique. The genome consists of 16 pseudo-chromosomes that contain 222 Mb of sequence, with a scaffold N50 of 13.6 Mb. BUSCO analysis yielded a completeness score of 99.3%. The genome has 12,288 predicted protein-coding genes and a rate of 8.11% of repetitive sequences. One chromosome inversion was identified between the HRJHB and the closely related Italian honeybees through whole-genome alignment analysis, which may also shed light on the evolution of domesticated insects.