Research Article

Matrilineage differentiation of the genus Tetragonisca using mitochondrial DNA markers and the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism technique

Published: October 21, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (4) : 12828-12840 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4238/2015.October.21.2
Cite this Article:
(2015). Matrilineage differentiation of the genus Tetragonisca using mitochondrial DNA markers and the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism technique. Genet. Mol. Res. 14(4): gmr4902. https://doi.org/10.4238/2015.October.21.2
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Abstract

The Meliponinae are important pollinators of plant species, and one of the most managed species is Tetragonisca angustula. Initially, two subspecies were identified in T. angustula: T. angustula angustula and T. angustula fiebrigi. Subsequently, T. a. fiebrigi was considered a species, based on the coloration of its mesepisternum. The objective of the present study was to obtain genetic markers that could differentiate the two species by amplifying regions of mitochondrial DNA and conducting polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Worker bees were collected in three Brazilian states: Paraná (Maringá, Altônia, and Foz do Iguaçu), São Paulo (Dracena, São Carlos, and Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo), and Rondônia (Ariquemes). Ten pairs of insect heterologous primers were tested and four were used (primer pair 1, ND2 and COI; primer pair 2, COI; primer pair 8, 16S and 12S; and primer pair 9, COII). For the restriction analysis, 13 enzymes were tested: EcoRI, EcoRV, HindIII, HinfI, RsaI, PstI, XbaI, HaeIII, ClaI, XhoI, BglII, PvuII, and ScaI. Markers were obtained (primer pair 8 cleaved with EcoRV and XbaI and primer pair 9 cleaved with HaeIII, RsaI, and XbaI) that enabled matrilineage identification in the nests studied, which confirmed that hybridization could occur between both Tetragonisca species. The beginning of speciation was probably recent, and secondary contact has resulted in crosses between T. angustula females and T. fiebrigi males. Because of this hybridization, it would be appropriate to consider them as two subspecies of T. angustula.

The Meliponinae are important pollinators of plant species, and one of the most managed species is Tetragonisca angustula. Initially, two subspecies were identified in T. angustula: T. angustula angustula and T. angustula fiebrigi. Subsequently, T. a. fiebrigi was considered a species, based on the coloration of its mesepisternum. The objective of the present study was to obtain genetic markers that could differentiate the two species by amplifying regions of mitochondrial DNA and conducting polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Worker bees were collected in three Brazilian states: Paraná (Maringá, Altônia, and Foz do Iguaçu), São Paulo (Dracena, São Carlos, and Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo), and Rondônia (Ariquemes). Ten pairs of insect heterologous primers were tested and four were used (primer pair 1, ND2 and COI; primer pair 2, COI; primer pair 8, 16S and 12S; and primer pair 9, COII). For the restriction analysis, 13 enzymes were tested: EcoRI, EcoRV, HindIII, HinfI, RsaI, PstI, XbaI, HaeIII, ClaI, XhoI, BglII, PvuII, and ScaI. Markers were obtained (primer pair 8 cleaved with EcoRV and XbaI and primer pair 9 cleaved with HaeIII, RsaI, and XbaI) that enabled matrilineage identification in the nests studied, which confirmed that hybridization could occur between both Tetragonisca species. The beginning of speciation was probably recent, and secondary contact has resulted in crosses between T. angustula females and T. fiebrigi males. Because of this hybridization, it would be appropriate to consider them as two subspecies of T. angustula.