, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 731–736 | Cite as

Genome size diversity in stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Meliponini)

  • Mara Garcia Tavares
  • Carlos Roberto Carvalho
  • Fernanda Aparecida Ferrari Soares
  • Lucio Antonio de Oliveira Campos
Original article


The first studies on the genome size of stingless bee species showed a range from 0.27 pg (Melipona subnitida and Melipona quadrifasciata) to 1.38 pg (Melipona capixaba). Considering this variation, we quantified the DNA content of 26 species of Meliponini, in order to provide input for future comparative studies in this tribe. Haploid genome size (1C) estimates, using flow cytometry analyses (FCM), ranged from 0.26 ± 0.003 pg (Paratrigona subnuda) to 0.98 ± 0.023 pg (Melipona flavolineata), with an average of 0.54 ± 0.17 pg. FCM analyses also demonstrated a small difference in the haploid genome size between males and females of the same species, with the males generally having a smaller genome than females. Our data also evidenciated that variations in the genome size of stingless bees do not correlate with changes in chromosome number and that in some genera the DNA content is more variable than in others.


C-value DNA content flow cytometry meliponines 



We are grateful to Dr. Leonardo Lopes Bhering for his statistical assistance with GENES Program and to all researches and bee keepers that kindly provided the specimens analyzed. This work was supported by the Brazilian agency FAPEMIG (Process number: APQ 218 00564-08).


  1. Ardila-Garcia, A.M., Umphrey, G.J., Gregory, T.R. (2010) An expansion of the genome size dataset for the insect order Hymenoptera, with a first test of parasitism and eusociality as possible constraints. Insec. Mol. Biol. 19, 337–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Caixeiro, A.P.A. (1998) Caracterização citogenética da heterocromatina constitutiva e sua implicação na evolução do cariótipo de espécies do gênero Plebeia (Hymenoptera: Apinae: Meliponini). Dissertação de Mestrado. Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa. 70pGoogle Scholar
  3. Costa, M.A., Pompolo, S.G., Campos, L.A.O. (1992) Supernumerary chromosomes in Partamona cupira (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponinae). Rev. Bras. Genet. 15, 801–806Google Scholar
  4. Cruz, C.D. (2011) Programa Genes: Aplicativo Computacional em Genética e Estatística. Versão Windows—2011. UFV, ViçosaGoogle Scholar
  5. Dolezel, J., Bartos, J. (2005) Plant DNA flow cytometry and estimation of nuclear genome size. Ann. Bot. 95, 99–110PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dolezel, J., Bartos, J., Voglmayr, H., Greilhuber, J. (2003) Nuclear DNA content and genome size of trouts and human. Cytometry 51A, 127–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Domingues, A.M.T., Waldschmidt, A.M., Andrade, S.E., Andrade-Souza, V., Alves, R.M.O., Silva Junior, J.C., Costa, M.A. (2005) Karyotype characterization of Trigona fulviventris Guérin, 1835 (Hymenoptera, Meliponini) by C banding and fluorochrome staining: report of a new chromosome number in the genus. Gen. Mol. Biol. 28, 390–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fernandes A., Sampaio W.M.S., Lazarotto A. (2009) Contribuição citogenética ao estudo do gênero Partamona, In: I BIOTA- Ciclo de Estudos de Biologia de Tangará da Serra, Tangará da Serra. Resumo Expandido-Biologia Celular e GenéticaGoogle Scholar
  9. Geraci, N.S., Jonston, J.S., Robinson, J.P., Wikel, S.K., Hill, C.A. (2007) Variation in genome size of argasid and ixodid ticks. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 37, 399–408PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gregory, T.R. (2002) Genome size and developmental complexity. Genetica 115, 131–146PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gregory, T.R. (2005) The C-value enigma in plants and animals: a review of parallels and an appeal for partnership. Ann. Bot. 95, 133–146PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gregory, T.R. (2011) Animal Genome Size Database, (accessed on 10 July 2011).
  13. Hardie, D.C., Gregory, T.R., Hebert, P.D.N. (2002) From pixels to picograms: a beginners’ guide to genome quantification by Feulgen image analysis densitometry. J. Histochem. Cytochem. 50, 735–749PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Honeybee Genome Sequencing Consortium (2006) Insights into social insects from the genome of the honeybee Apis mellifera. Nature 443, 931–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Imai, H., Taylor, R.W., Crosland, M.W.J., Crozier, R.H. (1988) Modes of spontaneous evolution in ants with reference to the minimum interaction hypothesis. Jpn. J. Genet. 63, 159–185PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lopes, D.M., Pompolo, S.G., Campos, L.A.O., Tavares, M.G. (2008) Cytogenetic characterization of Melipona rufiventris Lepeletier 1836 and Melipona mondury Smith 1863 (Hymenoptera, Apidae) by C banding and fluorochromes staining. Genet. Mol. Biol. 31, 49–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lopes, D.M., Carvalho, C.R., Clarindo, W.R., Praça, M.M., Tavares, M.G. (2009) Genome size estimation of three stingless bee species (Hymenoptera, Meliponinae) by flow cytometry. Apidologie 40, 517–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lopes, D.M., Fernandes, A., Praça-Fontes, M.M., Werneck, H.D., Resende, H.C., Campos, L.A.D. (2011) Cytogenetics of three Melipona species (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini). Sociobiology 58, 185–194Google Scholar
  19. Loureiro, J., Rodriguez, E., Dole el, J., Santos, C. (2006a) Comparison of four nuclear isolation buffers for plant DNA flow cytometry. Ann. Bot. 98, 679–689Google Scholar
  20. Loureiro, J., Rodriguez, E., Dole el, J., Santos C. (2006b) Flow cytometric and microscopic analysis of the effect of tannic acid on plant nuclei and estimation of DNA content. Ann. Bot. 98, 515–527Google Scholar
  21. Marthe, J.B., Pompolo, S.G., Campos, L.A.O., Salomão, T.M.F., Tavares, M.G. (2010) Cytogenetic characterization of Partamona cupira (Hymenoptera, Apidae) by fluorochromes. Gen. Mol. Biol. 33, 253–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Michener, C.D. (2000) The bees of the world. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 913pGoogle Scholar
  23. Otto, F.J. (1990) DAPI staining of fixed cells for high-resolution flow cytometry of nuclear DNA. In: Darzynkiewiez, Z., Crissman, H.A., Robinson, J.P. (eds.), Methods in Cell Biology, vol 33, Academic Press, San Diego, pp.105–110Google Scholar
  24. Praça-Fontes, M.M., Fernandes, A., Werneck H., Campos, L.A.O., Drummond, M., Lopes, D. M. (2010) Contribuição ao estudo citogenético de espécies do gênero Trigona (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini). In: Anais do IX Encontro sobre Abelhas. Ribeirão PretoGoogle Scholar
  25. Rasmussen, C., Camargo, J.M.F. (2008) A molecular phylogeny and the evolution of nest architecture and behavior in Trigona s.s. (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini). Apidologie 39, 102–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rasmussen, C., Cameron, S.A. (2010) Global stingless bee phylogeny supports ancient divergence, vicariance, and long distance dispersal. Biol. J. Linnean Soc. 99, 206–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rocha, M.P. (2002) Análises citogenéticas em abelhas do gênero Melipona (Hymenoptera, Meliponinae). Universidade Estadual de Campinas, São Paulo. 84pGoogle Scholar
  28. Rocha, M.P., Pompolo, S.G., Campos, L.A.O. (2003) Citogenética da tribo Meliponini (Hymenoptera, Apidae). In: Melo, G.A.R., Santos, I.A. (eds.), Apoidea Neotropica. Homenagem aos 90 anos de Jesus Santiago Moure, UNESC, Santa Catarina, Brasil, pp. 311–320Google Scholar
  29. Shapiro, H.M. (2003) Practical flow cytometry, 4th ed., John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey. 736pGoogle Scholar
  30. Tavares, M.G., Carvalho, C.R., Soares, F.A.F. (2010a) Genome size variation in Melipona species (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and sub-grouping by their DNA content. Apidologie 41, 636–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tavares, M.G., Carvalho, C.R., Soares, F.A.F., Fernandes, A. (2010b) Detection of diploid males in a natural colony of the cleptobiotic bee Lestrimelitta sp. (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Gen. Mol. Biol. 33, 491–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tsutsui, N.D., Suarez, A.V., Spagna, J.C., Johnston, J.S. (2008) The evolution of genome size in ants. BMC Evol. Biol. 8, 1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag, France 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mara Garcia Tavares
    • 1
  • Carlos Roberto Carvalho
    • 1
  • Fernanda Aparecida Ferrari Soares
    • 1
  • Lucio Antonio de Oliveira Campos
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia GeralUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil

Personalised recommendations