Genome Sequencing Shows Climate Barrier to Spread of Africanized Bees

Added Diversity May Be Useful for Breeding Bees

Since the 1950s, “Africanized” honeybees have spread north and south across the Americas until apparently coming to a halt in California and northern Argentina. Now genome sequencing of hundreds of bees from the northern and southern limits shows a gradual decline in African ancestry across hundreds of miles, rather than an abrupt shift.

“There’s a gradual transition at the same latitude in North and South America,” said Erin Calfee, Population Biology Graduate Group student in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis, and first author on the paper, published Oct. 19 in PLOS Genetics. “There’s a natural barrier that is likely maintained by many different genetic loci.”