Quantitative Trait Loci for Light Sensitivity, Body Weight, Body Size, and Morphological Eye Parameters in the Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris
Bumblebees such as Bombus terrestris are essential pollinators in natural and managed ecosystems. In addition, this species is intensively used in agriculture for its pollination services, for instance in tomato and pepper greenhouses. Here we performed a quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis on B. terrestris using 136 microsatellite DNA markers to identify genes linked with 20 traits including light sensitivity, body size and mass, and eye and hind leg measures. By composite interval mapping (IM), we found 83 and 34 suggestive QTLs for 19 of the 20 traits at the linkage group wide significance levels of p = 0.05 and 0.01, respectively. Furthermore, we also found five significant QTLs at the genome wide significant level of p = 0.05. Individual QTLs accounted for 7.5-53.3% of the phenotypic variation. For 15 traits, at least one QTL was confirmed with multiple QTL model mapping. Multivariate principal components analysis confirmed 11 univariate suggestive QTLs but revealed three suggestive QTLs not identified by the individual traits. We also identified several candidate genes linked with light sensitivity, in particular the Phosrestin-1-like gene is a primary candidate for its phototransduction function. In conclusion, we believe that the suggestive and significant QTLs, and markers identified here, can be of use in marker-assisted breeding to improve selection towards light sensitive bumblebees, and thus also the pollination service of bumblebees.