Gene reuse facilitates rapid radiation and independent adaptation to diverse habitats in the Asian honeybee

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Science Advances  18 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 51, eabd3590
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd3590


Animals with recent shared ancestry frequently adapt in parallel to new but similar habitats, a process often underlined by repeated selection of the same genes. Yet, in contrast, few examples have demonstrated the significance of gene reuse in colonization of multiple disparate habitats. By analyzing 343 genomes of the widespread Asian honeybee, Apis cerana, we showed that multiple peripheral subspecies radiated from a central ancestral population and adapted independently to diverse habitats. We found strong evidence of gene reuse in the Leucokinin receptor (Lkr), which was repeatedly selected in almost all peripheral subspecies. Differential expression and RNA interference knockdown revealed the role of Lkr in influencing foraging labor division, suggesting that Lkr facilitates collective tendency for pollen/nectar collection as an adaptation to floral changes. Our results suggest that honeybees may accommodate diverse floral shifts during rapid radiation through fine-tuning individual foraging tendency, a seemingly complex process accomplished by gene reuse.

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