Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, NARO

Elucidating the genome sequence of Japanese honey bee

Towards understanding strong disease resistance of Japanese honey bee

The Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, NARO (NILGS) and Institute of Agro-biological Science (NIAS), in collaboration with the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Kyoto Sangyou University, has succeeded in deciphering the full genome sequence of the Japanese honey bee. Japanese honey bee has many useful properties including strong disease resistance as compared to the Western honey bee. Disease resistance of both honey bees can be analyzed at the genetic level by means of comparing the genome of the decoded Japanese honey bee with that of Western honey bee. This result will contribute to the development of more useful technologies for utilization of honey bees.


Overview

Honey bees are very important insects in agriculture that can be used for the production of bee products such as honey and as pollinators of various crops. In particular, the Western honey bees have been improved as livestock for many years and have excellent properties such as high honey storage ability. On the other hand, problems associated with honey bees becoming susceptible to diseases, parasites, agricultural chemicals etc. are gradually emerging in recent years.

The Japanese honey bee is a wild species of native origin in Japan and it is a closely related species of Western honey bee. It is known to have useful characteristics including strong resistance against diseases and parasites, which is not found in Western honey bee.

NARO, in collaboration with the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Kyoto Sangyou University, has succeeded in decoding the genome sequence of Japanese honey bee with high precision. By comparing the genome sequence of Japanese honey bee with the already sequenced genome of Western honey bee, disease resistance of both honey bees can be analyzed at the genome level.

This result was published in the November 14, 2018 issue of the European Journal of Entomology.


Publication

Yokoi K, Uchiyama H, Wakamiya T, Yoshiyama M,Takahashi J, Nomura T, Furukawa T, Yajima S, & Kimura K (2018) The draft genome sequence of Japanese honey bee, Apis cerana japonica (Hymenoptera: Apidae). European Journal of Entomology 115: 650-657


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