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Title: Examining parent-of-origin effects on transcription and RNA methylation in mediating aggressive behavior in honey bees (Apis mellifera)

Conflict between genes inherited from the mother (matrigenes) and the father (patrigenes) is predicted to arise during social interactions among offspring if these genes are not evenly distributed among offspring genotypes. This intragenomic conflict drives parent-specific transcription patterns in offspring resulting from parent-specific epigenetic modifications. Previous tests of the kinship theory of intragenomic conflict in honey bees (Apis mellifera) provided evidence in support of theoretical predictions for variation in worker reproduction, which is associated with extreme variation in morphology and behavior. However, more subtle behaviors – such as aggression – have not been extensively studied. Additionally, the canonical epigenetic mark (DNA methylation) associated with parent-specific transcription in plant and mammalian model species does not appear to play the same role as in honey bees, and thus the molecular mechanisms underlying intragenomic conflict in this species is an open area of investigation. Here, we examined the role of intragenomic conflict in shaping aggression in honey bee workers through a reciprocal cross design and Oxford Nanopore direct RNA sequencing. We attempted to probe the underlying regulatory basis of this conflict through analyses of parent-specific RNA m6A and alternative splicing patterns. We report evidence that intragenomic conflict occurs in the context of honey bee aggression, with increased paternal and maternal allele-biased transcription in aggressive compared to non-aggressive bees, and higher paternal allele-biased transcription overall. However, we found no evidence to suggest that RNA m6A or alternative splicing mediate intragenomic conflict in this species.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Springer Science + Business Media
Date Published:
Journal Name:
BMC Genomics
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

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