Dr. Olav Rueppell
Our office and lab space are located in the Eberhart Building
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Our research apiary and bee facility are located
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LAST UPDATED Sept. 2011
Together with our collaborators Robert Page and Gro Amdam, we are interested in the genetic architecture of quantitative, complex traits that are important for social evolution. The traits that are under investigation include social behavior, such as foraging, and life history traits, such as lifespan and ovary size, an indicator of reproductive potential. Ovary size is of particular interest because the reproductive ground-plan hypothesis of social evolution suggests that ancestral reproductive control modules involved in gonotropic cycling have been co-opted by social evolution to control social behavior and caste in social insects.
Our primary approach is quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in experimental crosses, where trait-marker associations are studied across the entire genome. The recent methodological developments in conjunction with available honey bee genome sequences make this approach now powerful and time-efficient. We are interested in finding the number and effect size of QTL, identifying pleiotropy and epistasis, and locating the QTL to investigate candidate genes. We use microsatellites, SNPs, and RAD-tags as genetic markers. Due to the high recombination rate the number of markers required to saturate a map is high but the number of positional candidate genes obtained is lower than in most other organisms. Follow-up studies of these candidate genes could involve sequence and expression analysis, population association studies, and RNAi.