Fine-Scale Linkage Mapping Reveals a Small Set of Candidate Genes Influencing Honey Bee Grooming Behavior in Response to Varroa Mites
To search for genes influencing this trait, we used an Illumina Bead Station genotyping array to determine the genotypes of several hundred worker bees at over a thousand single-nucleotide polymorphisms in a family that was apparently segregating for alleles influencing this behavior. Linkage analyses provided a genetic map with 1,313 markers anchored to genome sequence. Genotypes were analyzed for association with grooming behavior, measured as the time that individual bees took to initiate grooming after mites were placed on their thoraces. Quantitative-trait-locus interval mapping identified a single chromosomal region that was significant at the chromosome-wide level (p<0.05) on chromosome 5 with a LOD score of 2.72. The 95% confidence interval for quantitative trait locus location contained only 27 genes (honey bee official gene annotation set 2) including Atlastin, Ataxin and Neurexin-1 (AmNrx1), which have potential neurodevelopmental and behavioral effects.