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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Genetics and Breeding in Support of Honey Bee Health

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Tracking the genetic stability of a honeybee breeding program with genetic markers

Author
item Bourgeois, Lanie
item Beaman, Glenda - Lorraine

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2017
Publication Date: 7/4/2017
Citation: Bourgeois, A.L., Beaman, G.D. 2017. Tracking the genetic stability of a honeybee breeding program with genetic markers. Journal of Economic Entomology. 110(4):1419-1423.

Interpretive Summary: In 2008, the USDA-ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Laboratory expedited the final release of the Russian Honey bee stock to beekeeping industry. The stock is currently propagated by the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association (RHBA). As a companion to the release, a genetic stock identification (GSI) assay was developed to distinguish Russian honey bees from other honey bee stocks that are commercially produced in the United States. The test produced a probability of assignment (POA) value that represented the probability that the bees produced were members of the Russian stock previously released. POA values have been collected since the stock release in 2008 to the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association and while they fluctuated throughout 2010-2016, they recovered to statistically similar levels to 2010, in 2016. Genotype data were also used to assess stability of the assay over time and the genetic diversity levels of the contemporary breeding stock. Genetic diversity and structure in 2016 remained at similar levels when compared to those in 2010. The relationship among breeding lines, based on genetic distance was also similar for 2008 and 2016 populations with a small increase in similarity, but maintenance of diversity among lines. This was expected based on the closed breeding system used for Russian honey bees. The successful application of the GSI assay in a commercial breeding program demonstrates the utility and stability of such technology to contribute to and monitor the genetic integrity of a breeding stock of an insect species.

Technical Abstract: A genetic stock identification (GSI) assay was developed in 2008 to distinguish Russian honey bees from other honey bee stocks that are commercially produced in the United States. Probability of assignment (POA) values have been collected and maintained since the stock release in 2008 to the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association. These data were used to assess stability of the assay and the diversity levels of the contemporary breeding stock through comparison of POA values and genetic diversity parameters from the initial release to current values. POA values fluctuated throughout 2010-2016, but have recovered to statistically similar levels in 2016 (POA(2010) = 0.82, POA(2016) = 0.74; P = 0.33 . Genetic diversity parameters (i.e., allelic richness and gene diversity) in 2016 also remained at similar levels when compared to those in 2010. Estimates of genetic structure revealed stability (FST(2009/2016) = 0.0058) with a small increase in the estimate of the inbreeding coefficient (FIS(2010) = 0.078, FIS(2016) = 0.149). The relationship among breeding lines, based on genetic distance measurement, was similar in 2008 and 2016 populations, but with increased homogeneity among lines (i.e., decreased genetic distance). This was expected based on the closed breeding system used for Russian honey bees. The successful application of the GSI assay in a commercial breeding program demonstrates the utility and stability of such technology to contribute to and monitor the genetic integrity of a breeding stock of an insect species.

Last Modified: 09/25/2017
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