Genetics

GENETICS

Honeybee Genetics

I use genetic approaches to reveal underlying mechanisms of learning behavior in honeybees. My research has focused on applying QTL (quantitative trait loci) mapping to isolate molecular markers that are linked to the genes, which affect phenotypic expression of learning and pollen foraging in bees. I made a successful research finding on an important learning paradigm in honeybees called “Latent Inhibition”.   Latent Inhibition is one of the learning mechanisms in which animals learn not to pay attention to stimuli, which are meaningless in nature.  Previous research has linked latent inhibition with psychopathological conditions such as acute schizophrenia, Alzheimer, dyslexia, and Parkinson’s disease. I constructed a genomic map of honeybees using RAPD markers (Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA markers) and that led to the identification of chromosomal regions that significantly affected latent inhibition. My current 95% confidence interval for the position of lrn1 (gene for latent inhibition) is about 23 cM.  I am continuing to reduce this confidence interval to 5 cM would represent a distance that could be spanned by several genomic DNA clones and this will certainly facilitate cloning the gene through a map-based cloning procedure. Please refer to my publication list for more information.