Submitted to: American Bee Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 13, 2007
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Citation: Bourgeois, A.L., Sylvester, H.A., Danka, R.G., Rinderer, T.E. 2007. Preliminary assessment of genetic diversity of Italian honey bees in the USA and Italy. American Bee Research Conference Proceedings. American Bee Journal 147(5):436 Technical Abstract: Declining numbers of breeder queens and the concomitant loss of genetic diversity potentially could result in inbreeding and increased susceptibility to pests and disease in honey bees. Genetic diversity of commercial Italian bee colonies in the United States and Italy was assessed using microsatellite genetic markers. To date, 13 U.S. and 14 Italian queen breeders were represented. Overall allelic diversity (mean number of alleles per locus) did not differ between the two groups (P > 0.05), although alleles were present that were unique to each group (Table 1). There were a total of 10 unique alleles among US bees and 5 among bees from Italy. The U.S. “Italian” bees likely are an admixture of subspecies and thus have alleles that may not be present in the bees of Italy. Estimates of genetic differentiation using the population genetic parameter FST showed that bees from the USA and Italy differ (P < 0.001).Examination of the genetic structure within each group (USA and Italy) indicated regional clustering for both groups. Samples from California queen breeders clustered together, as did all but one of the samples from the Bologna region of Italy. Higher resolution will be realized when more microsatellite and sample data are added.