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Honeybees came from Asia, not Africa: Study

Last Updated: Monday, August 25, 2014 - 13:26

Zee Media Bureau

London: Contrary to the general belief that honeybees originated from Africa, a new research indicates that the species actually came from Asia.

Researchers present the first global analysis of genome variation in honeybees in a study, which was published in the journal Nature Genetics. The new findings show a surprisingly high level of genetic diversity in them.

According to the researchers, honeybee (Apis mellifera) derived from an ancient lineage of cavity-nesting bees that arrived from Asia around 300,000 years ago and rapidly spread across Europe and Africa.
“The findings indicate that high levels of inbreeding are not a major cause of global colony losses”, said Matthew Webster, a researcher from Uppsala University, Sweden.

The team also identified specific mutations in genes important in adaptation to factors such as climate and pathogens, including those involved in morphology, behaviour and innate immunity.
“The evolutionary tree we constructed from genome sequences does not support an origin in Africa. This gives us new insight into how honeybees spread and became adapted to habitats across the world," Webster noted.

The study also revealed that climate change has strongly impacted honeybee populationsin the past.

(With Agency Inputs)

First Published: Monday, August 25, 2014 - 13:23
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