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The effects of mating and instrumental insemination on queen honey bee flight behaviour and gene expression

Authors

  • S. D. Kocher,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA;
    2. W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
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  • D. R. Tarpy,

    1. Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA; and
    2. W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
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  • C. M. Grozinger

    1. Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA;
    2. Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA; and
    3. W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
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  • Present address: C. M. Grozinger, Department of Entomology, Center for Chemical Ecology, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA.

S. D. Kocher, Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA. Tel.: +919 515 5759; fax: +919 515 3355; e-mail: skocher@gmail.com

Abstract

Mating is fundamental to most organisms, although the physiological and transcriptional changes associated with this process have been largely characterized only in Drosophila melanogaster. In this study, we use honey bees as a model system because their queens undergo massive and permanent physiological and behavioural changes following mating. Previous studies have identified changes associated with the transition from a virgin queen to a fully mated, egg-laying queen. Here, we further uncouple the mating process to examine the effects of natural mating vs. instrumental insemination and saline vs. semen insemination. We observed effects on flight behaviour, vitellogenin expression and significant overlap in transcriptional profiles between our study and analogous studies in D. melanogaster, suggesting that some post-mating mechanisms are conserved across insect orders.

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