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Amro Zayed

Amro Zayed

Picture of Amro Zayed
Amro Zayed
Full Professor
Chair - York Research Chair in Genomics



Eligible to Supervise

Biology Graduate Program


Office Location Lumbers Building, 208
Phone Number (416)736-2100 x 20213 (Voicemail)

Research Focus

We are interested in studying the genetics and evolution of social insects. Why and how did sociality evolve? What are the genetic basis of ‘social’ traits? How does social behaviour affect patterns of genome evolution? We are also interested in applying genomic tools to guide the conservation of native pollinators and to improve the health of managed honey bees.

Graduate students in my group are exposed to a broad range of bee and social insect research not just through international and inter-university collaborations, but also through interaction with colleges at BEEc – YorkU’s consortium on bee ecology, evolution and conservation (

Representative  Publications

Kent, C.F., Dey, A., Patel, H., Tsvetkov, N., Tiwari, T., MacPhail, V.J., Gobeil, Y., Harpur, B.A., Gurtowski, J., Schatz, M.C., Colla, S.R., and Zayed, A. (2018). Conservation genomics of a declining North American bumblebee, Bombus terricola, reveal inbreeding and selection on immune genes. Frontiers in Genetics. 9:316. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00316

Dogantzis, K.A., Harpur, B.A., Rodriques, A., Beani, L., Toth, A.L. and Zayed, A. (2018). Insects with similar social complexity show convergent patterns of adaptive molecular evolution. Nature Scientific Reports. 8:10388. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-28489-5

Harpur, B.A., Dey, A., Albert, J.R., Patel, S., Hines, H.M., Hasselmann, M., Packer, L. Zayed, A. (2017). Contribution of queen and worker traits to adaptive evolution differs between bumble bees and honey bees. Genome Biology and Evolution. 9:2395-2402

Tsvetkov, N., Samson-Robert, O., Sood, K., Patel, H.S., Malena, D.A., Gajiwala, P.H., Maciukiewicz, P., Fournier, V., Zayed, A. (2017). Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honeybee health near corn crops. Science. 356:1395-1397.

Zayed, A. (2016). Evolution: Insect invasions and natural selection. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature20472

Lozier, J.D. and Zayed, A. (2016) Bee conservation in the age of genomics. Conservation Genetics. doi:10.1007/s10592-016-0893-7.

Salmela, H., Stark, T., Stucki, D., Fuchs, S., Freitak, D., Dey, A., Kent, C.F., Zayed, A., Dhaygude, Kishor, Hokkanen, H., Sundstrom, L. (2016). Ancient duplications led to functional divergence of vitellogenin-like genes involved in inflammation and oxidative stress in honey bees. Genome Biology and Evolution. 8:495-506.

McAfee, A., Harpur, B.A., Michaud, S., Beavis, R.C., Zayed, A. and Foster, L.J. (2015). Towards an upgraded honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) genome annotation using proteogenomics. Journal of Proteome Research. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b00589.

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, 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


Population genetics, Genomics, Behavioural Genetics

Research Areas

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology