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      Diploid males of Scaptotrigona depilis are able to join reproductive aggregations (Apidae, Meliponini)

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          Abstract

          The sex determination system in the eusocial stingless bees (Apidae, Meliponini) is based on the combination of alleles at the complementary sex determination (CSD) locus. In this system, males are haploid and females are diploid. However, diploid males can develop from fertilized eggs when they are homozygous at single or multiple sex loci. The production of such males can negatively affect population viability, since they are usually infertile or inviable. Moreover, when they are viable but infertile, or siring sterile triploid offspring, this could cause another load on the population, leading the fertilized offspring of other females to be only haploid males or triploid sterile daughters. In this context, our aim was to verify whether diploid males of the stingless bee Scaptotrigona depilis do in fact join reproductive aggregations. We showed that of 360 marked males from two different colonies, five were participating in a reproductive aggregation ca. 20 meters from their natal colonies. Using microsatellites markers, it was confirmed that three of these five males were diploid. They were captured in the mating aggregations when they were 15 to 20 days old. Further research is necessary to determine the mating success of stingless bee diploid males under natural conditions and to determine their impact on stingless bee population extinction risks.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Sex determination in the hymenoptera.

          The dominant and ancestral mode of sex determination in the Hymenoptera is arrhenotokous parthenogenesis, in which diploid females develop from fertilized eggs and haploid males develop from unfertilized eggs. We discuss recent progress in the understanding of the genetic and cytoplasmic mechanisms that make arrhenotoky possible. The best-understood mode of sex determination in the Hymenoptera is complementary sex determination (CSD), in which diploid males are produced under conditions of inbreeding. The gene mediating CSD has recently been cloned in the honey bee and has been named the complementary sex determiner. However, CSD is only known from 4 of 21 hymenopteran superfamilies, with some taxa showing clear evidence of the absence of CSD. Sex determination in the model hymenopteran Nasonia vitripennis does not involve CSD, but it is consistent with a form of genomic imprinting in which activation of the female developmental pathway requires paternally derived genes. Some other hymenopterans are not arrhenotokous but instead exhibit thelytoky or paternal genome elimination.
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            Complementary sex determination substantially increases extinction proneness of haplodiploid populations.

            The role of genetic factors in extinction is firmly established for diploid organisms, but haplodiploids have been considered immune to genetic load impacts because deleterious alleles are readily purged in haploid males. However, we show that single-locus complementary sex determination ancestral to the haplodiploid Hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps) imposes a substantial genetic load through homozygosity at the sex locus that results in the production of inviable or sterile diploid males. Using stochastic modeling, we have discovered that diploid male production (DMP) can initiate a rapid and previously uncharacterized extinction vortex. The extinction rate in haplodiploid populations with DMP is an order of magnitude greater than in its absence under realistic but conservative demographic parameter values. Furthermore, DMP alone can elevate the base extinction risk in haplodiploids by over an order of magnitude higher than that caused by inbreeding depression in threatened diploids. Thus, contrary to previous expectations, haplodiploids are more, rather than less, prone to extinction for genetic reasons. Our findings necessitate a fundamental shift in approaches to the conservation and population biology of these ecologically and economically crucial insects.
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              Bee genetics and conservation

               Amro Zayed (2009)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Hymenoptera Research
                JHR
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2607
                1070-9428
                September 07 2015
                September 07 2015
                : 45
                : 125-130
                Article
                10.3897/JHR.45.4769
                © 2015

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