Genetics of Complex Traits

Most important traits are complex and we study the genetic architecture of several such traits to explore the connection between genotype and phenotype. We have performed quantitative trait locus mapping of behavioral traits (the rate of behavioral ontogeny and sucrose responsiveness), and ovary size in worker honey bees, which plays an important role in phenotypic differentiation among workers. More recently, we have also performed transcriptome studies to get a system level understanding of different behavioral states and we are also turning our attention to traits that are relevant to honey bee health, such as stress responses, virus resistance, and disease progression.


Fouks B., Brand P., Nguyen H.N., Herman J., Camara F., Ence D., Hagen D.E., Hoff K.J., Nachweide S., Romoth L., Walden K.K.O., Guigo R., Stanke M., Narzisi G., Yandell M., Robertson H.M., Koeniger N., Chantawannakul P., Schatz M.C., Worley K.C., Robinson G.E., Elsik C.G., Rueppell O. (2021) The genomic basis of evolutionary differentiation among honey bees. Genome Research, doi: .

Han B., Wei Q., Wu F., Hu H., Ma C., Meng L., Zhang X., Feng M., Fang Y., Rueppell O., Li J., (2021) Tachykinin signaling inhibits task-specific behavioral responsiveness in honeybee workers. eLife, 10: e64830.

Amiri E., Le K., Vega-Melendez C., Strand M.K., Tarpy D.R., Rueppell O. (2020) Egg-size plasticity in Apis mellifera: honey bee queens alter egg size in response to both genetic and environmental factors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology,33(4): 534-543.

Zhang X., Hu H., Han B., Wei Q., Meng L., Wu F., Fang Y., Feng M., Ma C., Rueppell O., Li J. (2020) The neuroproteomic basis of enhanced perception and processing of brood signals that trigger increased reproductive investment in honeybee (Apis mellifera) workers. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, 19(10): 1632-1648.

Ihle K.E., Rueppell O., Huang Z.Y., Wang Y., Fondrk M.K., Page R.E., Amdam G.V. (2015) Genetic architecture of a hormonal response to gene knockdown in honey bees. Journal of Heredity,106: 155-165.

Page R.E., Fondrk M.K., Rueppell O. (2012) Complex pleiotropy characterizes the pollen hoarding syndrome in honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66: 1459-1466.

Rueppell O., Metheny J.D., Linksvayer T.A., Fondrk M.K., Page R.E., Amdam G.V. (2011) Genetic architecture of ovary size and asymmetry in European honeybee workers. Heredity, 106: 894-903.

Linksvayer T.A., Rueppell O., Siegel A., Kaftanoglu O., Page R.E., Amdam G.V.A. (2009) The genetic basis of transgressive ovary size in honey bee workers. Genetics, 183: 693-707.

Rueppell O. (2009) Characterization of quantitative trait loci for the age of first foraging in honey bee workers. Behavior Genetics, 39: 541-553.

Rüppell O., Pankiw T., Page R.E. (2004) Pleiotropy, epistasis and new QTL: the genetic architecture of honey bee foraging behavior. Journal of Heredity, 95: 481-491.