Submitted to: Molecular Ecology Resources
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2008
Publication Date: 4/10/2009
Citation: Rehner, S.A., Evans, J.D. 2009. Microsatellite loci for the fungus, Ascosphaera apis, cause of honey bee chalkbrood disease. Molecular Ecology Resources. 9(3)855-858. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.111/j.1755-0998.2008.02455.x. Interpretive Summary: Honey bees play an important role in the pollination of more than 80 crop plants in the United States. However, diseases can limit pollination efficiency and generate an economic burden for beekeepers. Chalkbrood is a persistent fungal disease in honey bees that weakens susceptible colonies, especially during the spring buildup of colonies. As a tool for determining the impact of the chalkbrood fungus, we developed and validated DNA fingerprinting markers for this species. Using these new markers, we found considerable genetic variation for this fungus in the U.S. This research will be useful to insect pathologists working to understand and control bee diseases and for regulators developing policies that minimize the movement of this important disease agent.
Technical Abstract: The fungus Ascosphaera apis (Ascomycota:Ascosphaeriaceae) is a worldwide fungal pathogen of honey bees. To provide tools for understanding the dispersal history of this pathogen, strain differences in virulence, and host-pathogen interactions, we developed and tested microsatellite loci for this species using the draft genome assembly. We present 25 scorable loci that showed from 2 to 8 alleles per locus in a preliminary survey of North American isolates of this fungus.