Genetic evidences for the impact of anthropogenic factors on honey bee diversity

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2017-06-01
Kükrer, Mert
Kence, Meral
Kence, Aykut
Intense admixture of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) populations is mostly attributed to migratory beekeeping practices and replacement of queens and colonies with non-native races or hybrids of different subspecies. These two practices are also heavily carried out in Anatolia and Thrace where 5 subspecies reside naturally. Here, we carried out an analysis of population structure of honey bees sampled from six different regions (n = 250) in order to test the genetic impacts of migratory beekeeping, queen and colony trade and conservation efficacy of isolated regions. A total of 30 microsatellite markers were used in four multiplex reactions. Direct genetic impact of migratory beekeeping was demonstrated first time based on a comparison of assignment of individuals to their geographically native populations where migratory colonies showed less fidelity. We found genetic evidence for them acting as a hybrid zone mobile in space and time, becoming vectors of otherwise local gene combinations. The effects of honey bee trade were revealed by the presence of very high introgression levels from the highly commercial Caucasian bees naturally limited to a narrow range. We also measured the direction and magnitude of this gene flow connected with bee trade. Comparison between regions that are either open to migratory beekeeping or not let us evaluate the status of isolated regions as centers of limited gene flow and showed the importance of establishing such regions. Despite signs of gene flow, our findings confirm high levels of geographically structured genetic diversity of four subspecies of honey bees in Turkey and emphasize the need to develop policies to maintain this diversity. Our overall results might potentially bear a wider interest to the community since they constitute an important attempt to quantify the effects of anthropogenic impacts on established patterns of honey bee diversity. Our measurable and justified findings on migratory beekeeping, queen and colony replacements as well as conservation implications will hopefully be of use for the decision makers and other stakeholders.
bioRxiv

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Citation Formats
M. Kükrer, M. Kence, and A. Kence, “Genetic evidences for the impact of anthropogenic factors on honey bee diversity,” bioRxiv, pp. 1–28, 2017, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/58041.