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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Genetic diversity, parasite prevalence and immunity in wild bumblebees
Authors: Whitehorn, Penelope R
Tinsley, M C
Brown, Mark J F
Darvill, Ben
Goulson, Dave
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Keywords: inbreeding
social insects
immune defence
Issue Date: 22-Apr-2011
Publisher: The Royal Society
Citation: Whitehorn PR, Tinsley MC, Brown MJF, Darvill B & Goulson D (2011) Genetic diversity, parasite prevalence and immunity in wild bumblebees, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278 (1709), pp. 1195-1202.
Abstract: Inbreeding and a consequent loss of genetic diversity threaten small, isolated populations. One mechanism by which genetically impoverished populations may become extinct is through decreased immunocompetence and higher susceptibility to parasites. Here, we investigate the relationship between immunity and inbreeding in bumblebees, using Hebridean island populations of Bombus muscorum. We sampled nine populations and recorded parasite prevalence and measured two aspects of immunity: the encapsulation response and levels of phenoloxidase (PO). We found that prevalence of the gut parasite Crithidia bombi was higher in populations with lower genetic diversity. Neither measure of immune activity was correlated with genetic diversity. However, levels of PO declined with age and were also negatively correlated with parasite abundance. Our results suggest that as insect populations lose heterozygosity, the impact of parasitism will increase, pushing threatened populations closer to extinction.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: Biological and Environmental Sciences
Biological and Environmental Sciences
University of London
Biological and Environmental Sciences
Biological and Environmental Sciences

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