Category: Articles

New lab paper on social isolation and learning in bees

By , May 10, 2019

Hot off the press: PhD candidate Nadia Tsvetkov in my group collaborated with Dr. Chelsea Cook at Arizona State University to study the effects of group size on learning and memory in the honey bee. We found the group size did affect how bees responded to sugar rewards and how they learned to discriminate between sugar and salt based on odour cues.

Nadejda Tsvetkov, Chelsea N. Cook, Amro Zayed. 2019. Effects of group size on learning and memory in the honey bee Apis mellifera. 

5 new papers and its only February

By , February 20, 2019

The Zayed lab is starting 2019 with a bang – 5 new papers out

Brock Harpur (former PhD student – now Assistant Prof at Prude) led a team of researchers to identify bits of DNA in the bee genome that affecting social immunity – a really cool experiment that just got published in Genome Biology and Evolution. – check out the press release below for more info

Harpur, B.A., Guarna, M.M., Huxter, E., Higo, H. Moon, K-M., Hoover, S.E., Ibrahim, A., Melathopoulos, A.P., Desai, S., Currie, R.W., Pernal, S.F., Foster, L.J., Zayed, A. (2019). Integrative genomics reveals the genetics and evolution of the honey bee’s social immune system. Genome Biology and Evolution. evz018, https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evz018 [link; press release]

Then, there was this lovely (if i am say so myself) review on honey bee population and quantitative genomics by Katie D (PhD Candidate) in Current Opinion in Insect Science.

Dogantzis, K.A., and Zayed, A. (2019) Recent advances in population and quantitive genomics of honey bees. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 31:93-98. [Invited review; link]

Then three papers with international collaborator. One with Dr. Karen Kapehim at Utah State which involved generating a new genome for the Alkali bee

Kapheim, K.M., Pan, H., Li, C., Blatti III, C., Harpur, B.A., Ioannidis, P., Jones, B.M., Kent, C.F., Ruzzante, L., Sloofman, L., Stolle, E., Waterhouse, R.M., Zayed, A., Zhang, G., Wcislo, W.T. (2019). Draft genome assembly and population genetics of an agricultural pollinator, the solitary alkali bee (Halictidae: Nomia melanderi). G3: Gene, Genomes, Genetics. doi:10.1534/g3.118.200865

Another with Drs. Nadine Chapman and Ben Oldroyd on the genetics of bees from Kangaroo Island.

Chapman, N.C., Sheng, J., Lim, J., Malfroy, S.F., Harpur, B.A., Zayed, A., Allsopp, M.H., Rinderer, T.E., Roberts, J.M.K, Remnant, E.J., Oldroyd, B.P. (2019). Genetic origins of honeybees (Apis mellifera) on Kangaroo Island and Norfolk Island (Australia) and Eua, Tongatapu and Vava’u islands, Kingdom of Tonga. Apidologie. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-018-0615-x

and yet another paper the Sydney bee crew; this time led by Dr. Nick Smith who spent a few month here as a visiting PhD fellow. Its an interesting look on balancing selection on cape bee genomes.

Smith, N.M.A. Wade, C., Allsopp, M.H., Harpur, B.A., Zayed, A., Rose, S.A., Engelstädter, J., Chapman, N.C., Yagound, B., Oldryod, B.P. (2019) Strikingly high levels of heterozygosity despite 20 years of inbreeding in a clonal honey bee. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 32:144-152.

This is shaping up to be a very productive year!

best,

Amro

 

New genome for an at-risk bumblebee

By , August 15, 2018

Happy to announce the publication of the genome of the yellow banded bumblebee ; an at-risk species that has substantially declined in Canada and the US. The genome will help us better understand the factors underlying the species’s decline.

Please check out the press release and the paper online.

 

New paper on spatial learning in bees

By , August 15, 2018

Nadia recently published a new assay for studying learning and memory in honey bees.

Here is a link to the paper, and the press release 

 

Similar social behaviour, Similar Genes?

By , July 10, 2018

Happy to report the publication of a new paper from the lab, in collaboration with Drs. Amy Toth (Iowa State) and Laura Beani (Università di Firenze). The paper was led by PhD Candidate Katie Dogantzis, and involved generating new population genomics data for paper wasps and comparing the data to honey bees and bumblebees.  We found that paper wasps and bumblebees have more in common, relative to paper wasps than honeybees, when it comes to adaptive changes in protein coding genes.

Congrats Katie!

Dogantzis, K.A., Harpur, B.A., Rodriques, A., Beani, L., Toth, A.L. and Zayed, A. (2018). Insects with similar social complexity show convergent patterns of adaptive molecular evolution. Nature Scientific Reports. 8:10388. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-28489-5 [link]

New Paper – NNIs and the poisoned oasis!

By , July 9, 2018

Check out this new perspective by PhD student Nadia Tsvetkov on the consequences of neonicotinoid spillover on honey bees, recently published by TheScienceBreaker

https://www.thesciencebreaker.org/breaks/earth-space/the-poisoned-oasis-neonicotinoid-spillover-harms-bees-near-corn

New paper out with…. MayB!!!!!

By , June 7, 2018

It always feels good when I get to work with some of my text book heros – the accomplished scientists that you read and idolize at different stages of your academic career.  So, when Dr. May Berenbaum [National Academy Member/Department Heat of Illinois’ Entomology/National Medal of Science winner… i like to say that former President Obama got his photo taken with May] emailed me a year ago to collaborate, i said ‘yes’ immediately! (i also went around telling everyone within a 30 m radius that we were going to be working with MayB!)

The resulting analysis was just published in Insectes Sociaux. Its a fun little paper about how social bees, who have an extreme pollen- and nectar-rich diet have evolved to cope with some of the nasty chemicals that plants use against herbivorous insects

  1. Johnson, R.M., Harpur, B.A., Dogantzis, K., Zayed, A., and Berenbaum, M.R. (2018). Genomic footprint of evolution of eusocilaity in bees: floral food use and CYPome “blooms”. Insectes Sociaux. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-018-0631-x [link]

New paper on pesticides and honey bees

By , July 4, 2017

Greetings all,
Our paper on honey bee health near corn crops was published last week in the journal Science. The study was funded by the Government of Ontario. The research team included collaborators from Laval led by Dr. Valérie Fournier, and several zayedlab undergrads that worked with Nadia on this large project.

While normally i would write a little summary, a lot of our findings have been summarized in the news, so you can read about the study at Nature News, Forbes, NPR, AAAS, Metro,LA Times, The Scientist, New Scientist, Washington Post, Radio Canada International, BBC News, The Guardian, The Star, Vice, Scientific American. Also check out the Editor’s Summary, and  Dr. Jeremy Kerr (U. Ottawa)’s Op Ed Story.

The paper can be accessed using the link below.

Tsvetkov, N., Samson-Robert, O., Sood, K., Patel, H.S., Malena, D.A., Gajiwala, P.H., Maciukiewicz, P., Fournier, V., Zayed, A. (2017). Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honeybee health near corn crops. Science. 356:1395-1397. [link]

New paper – African bee genomes and SNPs

By , December 7, 2016

Happy to report on a recent paper from the lab; Visiting PhD student Samir Kadri and YorkU PhD student Brock Harpur worked together to sequence and discover mutations in Brazilian Africanized honey bee genomes. The work was recently published as an open access article in Scientific Data. Also check out this y-file story on the research. Congrats Samir and Brock!

Samir and his 'killer' bees

Samir and his ‘killer’ bees

 

Brock Harpur

Brock Harpur

Dud males, biological invasions, natural selection, Oh My!

By , November 7, 2016

Check out my Nature News and Views story on a very cool study on invasive Asian honey bees in Australia.