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Title: Assessing Patterns of Admixture and Ancestry in Canadian Honey Bees

item HARPUR, BROCK - York University
item CHAPMAN, NADINE - University Of Sydney
item KRIMUS, LIOR - York University
item MACIUKIEWICZ, PHILIP - York University
item SANDHU, VIJAY - York University
item SOOD, KESHNA - York University
item LIM, JULIANNE - University Of Sydney
item Rinderer, Thomas
item ALLSOPP, MICHAEL - Plant Protection Institute - South Africa
item OLDROYD, BENJAMIN - University Of Sydney
item ZAYED, AMRO - York University

Submitted to: Insectes Sociaux
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/23/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The potential problems caused by Africanized honey bees (AHB) have resulted in numerous bans of international shipments of honey bees from places having even small numbers of AHB. This ban includes non-AHB from breeding programs that have produced highly desirable traits such as resistance to Varroa. Using a molecular genetic panel developed by an Australian scientist, this study provides additional evidence that the panel could be used with high certainty to facilitate the international shipment of small numbers of non-Africanized honey bee.

Technical Abstract: Canada has a large beekeeping industry comprised of 8483 beekeepers managing 672094 23 colonies. Canadian honey bees, like all honey bees in the New World, originate from centuries of importation of predominately European honey bees, but their precise ancestry remains unknown. There have been no investigations of the ancestry and population genetics of Canadian honey bee populations. We used a citizen science project that engaged a diverse group of beekeepers to undertake the largest genetic study of Canadian honey bees by genotyping 857 bees at 91 ancestrally-informative single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We used this dataset to characterize the ancestry of Canadian honey bee populations, test the hypothesis that Canadian honey bees are locally adapted to their environment, and to determine the effectiveness of using SNPs to distinguish between Canadian bees and the highly aggressive and invasive Africanized honey bee found in South America and the Southern United States. We found very low levels of genetic differentiation within Canada and small but significant differences in ancestry between provinces. We tested the local adaptation hypothesis and found that, counter to prediction, honey bee populations in more Northern and Western parts of Canada were closely related to subspecies from Southern and Mediterranean Europe. We attribute this pattern to differences in importation practices within Canada. Finally, we were able to accurately discriminate between Africanized bees and Canadian bees using the ancestrally-informative SNP markers, supporting the use of SNPs for accurately detecting Africanized honey bees and providing valuable insights into the genetic structure of Canadian bees.