Genomic Analyses Reveal Demographic History and Temperate Adaptation of the Newly Discovered Honey Bee Subspecies Apis mellifera sinisxinyuan n. ssp

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Abstract

Studying the genetic signatures of climate-driven selection can produce insights into local adaptation and the potential impacts of climate change on populations. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) is an interesting species to study local adaptation because it originated in tropical/subtropical climatic regions and subsequently spread into temperate regions. However, little is known about the genetic basis of its adaptation to temperate climates. Here, we resequenced the whole genomes of ten individual bees from a newly discovered population in temperate China and downloaded resequenced data from 35 individuals from other populations. We found that the new population is an undescribed subspecies in the M-lineage of A. mellifera (Apis mellifera sinisxinyuan). Analyses of population history show that long-term global temperature has strongly influenced the demographic history of A. m. sinisxinyuan and its divergence from other subspecies. Further analyses comparing temperate and tropical populations identified several candidate genes related to fat body and the Hippo signaling pathway that are potentially involved in adaptation to temperate climates. Our results provide insights into the demographic history of the newly discovered A. m. sinisxinyuan, as well as the genetic basis of adaptation of A. mellifera to temperate climates at the genomic level. These findings will facilitate the selective breeding of A. mellifera to improve the survival of overwintering colonies.

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