Seven suggestive quantitative trait loci influence hygienic behavior of honey bees

Keryn L. Lapidge, Benjamin P. Oldroyd, Marla Spivak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


In 1964, Walter Rothenbuhler proposed a two-gene model to explain phenotypic variance in the remarkable behavior in which honey bee workers remove dead brood from their colonies. Rothenbuhler's model proposed that one locus controls the uncapping of brood cells containing dead pupae, while a second controls the removal of the cell contents. We show here, through molecular techniques and quantitative trait loci (QTL) linkage mapping, that the genetic basis of hygienic behavior is more complex, and that many genes are likely to contribute to the behavior. In our cross, we detected seven suggestive QTLs associated with hygienic behavior. Each detected QTL controlled only 9-15% of the observed phenotypic variance in the character.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-568
Number of pages4
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We acknowledge the support and input of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Australia (RIRDC) to BPO and National Science Foundation grant IBN 9722416 to MS. Many thanks to the many beekeepers who assisted with this project, Gretchen Wheen for doing the inseminations, and Bruce White for operating the Quarantine Station efficiently. The Figure was drawn by Malcolm Ricketts. We thank the referees for very helpful comments on the manuscript.

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