RNA-sequencing elucidates the regulation of behavioural transitions associated with mating in honey bee queens

Fabio Manfredini* (Corresponding Author), Mark J F Brown* (Corresponding Author), Vanina Vergoz, Ben Oldroyd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Mating is a complex process, which is frequently associated with behavioural and physiological changes. However, understanding of the genetic underpinnings of these changes is limited. Honey bees are both a model system in behavioural genomics, and the dominant managed pollinator of human crops; consequently understanding the mating process has both pure and applied value. We used next-generation transcriptomics to probe changes in gene expression in the brains of honey bee queens, as they transition from virgin to mated reproductive status. In addition, we used CO 2 -narcosis, which induces oviposition without mating, to isolate the process of reproductive maturation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number563
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

This study was funded by a BBSRC ISIS grant BB/J019453/1, a Royal Holloway Research Strategy Fund Grant, and a Leverhulme Grant F/07537/AK to MJFB. BPO was supported by Australian Research Council Discovery grants DP150100151 and DP120101915. FM was supported by a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IIF-625487 to MJFB. We would like to thank Dave Galbraight (Penn State) and Alberto Paccanaro (RHUL) for support with analysis of RNAseq data and four anonymous reviewers for providing thoughtful insights that helped to improve the manuscript.


  • Apis mellifera
  • Australian honey bees
  • Behaviour
  • Brain
  • Mating
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Double necrosis
  • Transcriptomics
  • RNAseq
  • Gene expression


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