1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Improve our ability to maintain specific genetic types of honey bees by developing methods for the in vitro preservation of honey bee semen. Determine the biochemical and physiological environment that enables honey bee sperm to remain viable in queen spermathecae. Develop methods for the in vitro preservation of honey bee embryos. Design and implement a germplasm collection protocol.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The focus of this project is to develop practical methods of germplasm preservation for the honey bee, using cryopreservation and non-frozen systems. This technology is needed to preserve the genetic diversity of this species in the United States, especially because of severe colony losses to parasitic mites and diseases, and to assist in the selection of superior stocks of bees. Once preservation methodology is available, a collection scheme to maximize diversity in preserved germplasm will be needed.
Scientists were able to demonstrate that cryo-preserved semen when artificially inseminated into queen bees resulted in viability offspring, thereby confirming that cryo-preservation of bee semen is possible. This milestone was partially met because the lead SY on this project, although retired, has continued as a collaborator. Both cryo-preserved and non-frozen stored semen was shown to function in fertilization of eggs at a level that will ensure a usable colony. This will provide queen breeders and scientists with new means for the long term storage of semen. This project will terminate with this report.