8.2. Honey bee genome project

After a multi-year international project, the honey bee genome was described in fall, 2006, in a main overview paper (Honey bee Genome Sequencing Consortium, 2006) and >30 satellite genome-enabled companion papers (primarily in the journals Insect Molecular Biology and Genome Research). Sequence data, generated using dideoxy sequencing was assembled into ca. 10,000 contigs (blocks of overlapping sequence reads) spanning ca. 238 million base pairs. These contigs are in many cases linked together by scaffolding (a strategy whereby long strands of DNA are sequenced from each end and linked via informatics) leading to an assembly that was >95% complete for the non-repetitive genome. Honey bee genes and various genomic features are predicted based on homology to other organisms, evidence from RNA expression studies, and evidence for open reading frames. The current genome assembly along with a consensus (“GLEAN”) gene set and other resources are available at “Beebase” (www.beebase.org/, Christine Elsik, Univ. Missouri) and at the U.S. National Institutes of Health National Center for Biotechnology Information (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genome?term=apis%20mellifera). Both sites allow for downloading sequences as well as searching the genome via the BLAST family of search algorithms, while the Beebase site also provides the chance to ‘browse’ the genome visually. Efforts are continuing to improve the primary Apis mellifera genome data while adding sequence data from different honey bee strains.