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.


Lu RX, Bhatia S, Simone-Finstrom M, Rueppell O. Quantitative trait loci mapping for survival of virus infection and virus levels in honey bees. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 116, 105534.

Fang Y., Feng M., Ma C., Rueppell O., Li J. (2023) Major royal jelly proteins influence the neurobiological regulation of the division of labor among honey bee workers. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 225:848-860.

Han B., Wei Q., Amiri E., Hu H., Meng L., Strand M.K., Tarpy D.R., Xu S., Li J., Rueppell O. (2022) The molecular basis of socially induced egg-size plasticity in honey bees. eLife 11:e80499.

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.