To accelerate the molecular analysis of behavior in the honey bee (Apis mellifera), we created expressed sequence tag (EST) and cDNA microarray resources for the bee brain. Over 20,000 cDNA clones were partially sequenced from a normalized (and subsequently subtracted) library generated from adult A. mellifera brains. These sequences were processed to identify 15,311 high-quality ESTs representing 8912 putative transcripts. Putative transcripts were functionally annotated (using the Gene Ontology classification system) based on matching gene sequences in Drosophila melanogaster. The brain ESTs represent a broad range of molecular functions and biological processes, with neurobiological classifications particularly well represented. Roughly half of Drosophila genes currently implicated in synaptic transmission and/or behavior are represented in the Apis EST set. Of Apis sequences with open reading frames of at least 450 bp, 24% are highly diverged with no matches to known protein sequences. Additionally, over 100 Apis transcript sequences conserved with other organisms appear to have been lost from the Drosophila genome. DNA microarrays were fabricated with over 7000 EST cDNA clones putatively representing different transcripts. Using probe derived from single bee brain mRNA, microarrays detected gene expression for 90% of Apis cDNAs two standard deviations greater than exogenous control cDNAs.
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