Amro Zayed

PhD (York University)
Associate  Professor

Research Focus

We are generally interested in how genetic diversity — diversity at the lowest form of biological organization — affects individual, population and community level traits at both ecological and evolutionary time scales.

Research in my lab will mostly focus on examining the genetic basis of behaviour in the highly social and extremely intriguing societies of the honey bee Apis mellifera. Our goal is to understand both the “How’s” and “Why’s” of the evolution of social behavior. Our three-pronged research approach involves.

1. Identifying the causal genes and gene networks affecting behavior through quantitative genetic analysis of line crosses, global transcriptional profiling, and network analyses.

2. Studying the molecular evolution of the identified gene networks to determine the relative contribution of selection and drift, and cis– versus trans–regulation, in phenotypic and behavioural evolution.

3. Manipulation of the identified gene networks to examine their effect on individual and colony fitness.

In addition to charting the genotype–phenotype map, in the honey bee, there are several interesting prospects for testing the hypotheses developed from our honey bee work to the primitively social sweat bees, which we plan on developing genomic resources for.

Representative  Publications:

Kapheim, K. M. et al. including Kent, C.F. and Zayed, (2015) A. Genomic signatures of evolutionary transitions from solitary to group living. Science, 348:1139-1143.

Chapman NC, Harpur BA, Lim J, Rinderer TE, Allsopp MH, Zayed A, Oldroyd BP. (2015) Hybrid origins of Australian honey bees (Apis mellifera). Apidologie. DOI: 10.1007/s13592-015-0371-0

Chapman, N.C., Harpur, B.A., Lim, J., Rinderer, T.E., Allsopp, M.H., Zayed, A., Oldroyd, B.P. (2015) A SNP test to identify Africanized honey bees via proportion of ‘African’ ancestry. Molecular Ecology Resources. DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12411

Hasselmann, M. Ferretti, L. and Zayed, A. (2015). Beyond fruit-flies: population genomic advances in non-Drosophila arthropods. Briefings in Functional Genomics. doi: 10.1093/brg/elv010

Kent, C.F. and Zayed, A. (2015). Population Genomic and Phylogenomic Insights into the Evolution of Physiology and Behaviour in Social Insects. Advances in Insect Physiology.48:293-342.

Molodtsova, D., Harpur, B.A., Kent, C.F., Seevananthan, K., and Zayed, A. (2014). Pleiotropy constrains the evolution of protein but not regulatory sequences in a transcription regulatory network influencing complex social behaviours. Frontiers in Genetics, 5:431.

Harpur, B.A., Chernyshova, A., Soltani, A., Tsvetkov, N., Mahjoorighasrodashti, M. Xu, Z., and Zayed, A. (2014). No genetic tradeoffs between social and individual innate immunity in the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Plos ONE, 9:e104214.

Harpur, B.A., Kent, C.F., Molodtsova, D., Lebon, J.M.D., Alqarni, A.S., Owayss, A.A., Zayed, A. 2014. Population genomics of the honey bee reveals strong signatures of positive selection on worker traits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 111:2614-2619,dpi: 10.1073/pnas.1315506111