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Phylogenetic Uniqueness of Honeybee Apis Cerana from the Korean Peninsula Inferred from The Mitochondrial, Nuclear, and Morphological Data

Ilyasov, Rustem A., Park, Junhyung, Takahashi, Junichi, Kwon, Hyung Wook
Journal of apicultural science 2018 v.62 no.2 pp. 189-214
Apis cerana, Apis mellifera, codons, genetic variation, honey bees, intergenic DNA, mitochondria, mitochondrial DNA, mitochondrial genome, phylogeny, ribosomal RNA, transfer RNA, Africa, China, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, West Asia
Apis cerana is an Eastern honeybee species distributed throughout Asia and closely related to the Western honeybee species Apis mellifera distributed across all of Africa, Europe and Western Asia, and subdivided into thirty confirmed subspecies. Currently, A. cerana is an endangered bee species in contrast to A. mellifera. We sequenced and annotated the complete mitochondrial genome of A. cerana from the Jeollanam-do province of South Korea and uploaded to the DDBJ/Genbank database(AP018431). MtDNA sequence is 15.925 bp long, has 84% AT-content and 16% GC-content and contains 22 tRNA genes, 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, one AT-rich region and four non-coding intergenic regions (NC1-4). All protein-coding genes are started by ATT and ATG codons, except the genes ATP8 and ND4, which started by ATC and ATA, respectively, and are stopped by the common codons TAA and TAG. A comparative analysis of the whole mtDNA sequences of A. cerana from Korea and Taiwan, A. c. cerana from China and A. c. japonica from Japan showed that the genetic divergence of the Korean A. cerana sample from subspecies A. c. cerana (2.57%) and A. c. japonica (2.58%) matched to the level of genetic divergence of mtDNA between animal subspecies (0.8-8%). Based on the comparative analysis of complete mtDNA (~16,000 bp), two nuclear gene VG and EF1- α sequences (~8,000 bp) and morphological measurements (six parameters), we assumed that Korean A. cerana, Chinese A. c. cerana and Japanese A. c. japonica are different subspecies at an early stage of sub-speciation and could be called further as subspecies of Apis cerana koreana.