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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of microsatellite DNA divesity among commercial queen breeder stocks of Italian honey bees in the United States and Italy.

Authors
item Bourgeois, Lanie
item Sylvester, H
item Danka, Robert
item Rinderer, Thomas

Submitted to: Journal of Apicultural Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 25, 2008
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Citation: Bourgeois, A.L., Sylvester, H.A., Danka, R.G., Rinderer, T.E. 2008. Comparison of microsatellite DNA divesity among commercial queen breeder stocks of Italian honey bees in the United States and Italy.. Journal of Apicultural Research 47(2):93-98

Interpretive Summary: Declines in the 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 six variable genetic markers (microsatellites). Worker bees were sampled from colonies of queen breeders in both countries and gentic diversity and differentiation were measured. High levels of diversity among the microsatellites and moderate differentiation among bees from the USA and Italy were evident. Overall, diversity levels were sufficiently high indicating that inbreeding does not appear to be an immediate threat to existing honey bee populations.

Technical Abstract: Declines in the 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 six variable microsatellite DNA loci. Worker bees were sampled from colonies of queen breeders in both countries (USA, n=178; Italy, n=24). Overall, allelic richness (mean alleles/locus), gene divesity (heterozygosity), and FIS (inbreeding coefficient) did not differ between the two groups (P>0.05). A total of 48 alleles were present among all colonies. Sampled colonies from each country had a total of 38 alleles, although alleles were present that were qunique to each group. There were a total of 10 unique alleles among USA bees and 10 among Italy bees. Estimates of the level of genetic differentiation based on different allele frequency patterns among the USA and Italy wre measured with the population genetic parameter FST. These estimates showed that bees from the USA and Italy were measurably distinct relative to the frequencies of the microsatellite alleles present in samples from each country (P.=0.05). Although regional differentiation within the USA was also present, distinctive geographic patterns relative to genetic distance (chord distance) was not evident. Overall allelic diversity levels were sufficiently high indicating that inbreeding does not appear to be an imediate threat to existing honey bee populations.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014