Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium, Ankara, Turkey, 6 - 07 August 2015
Genetic impact of anthropogenic factors on honey bee diversity in Turkey
Mert Kükrer*, M. Kence and A. Kence Presenting Author’s Affiliation: Middle East Technical University, Department of Biological Sciences
Intense admixture of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) populations is mostly attributed to migratory beekeeping practices and replacement of queens or colonies with non-native races or hybrids of different subspecies. These two practices are also heavily carried out in Turkey. Here, we carried out an analysis of population structure of Turkish honeybees sampled from six different regions (n = 250) in order to test the genetic impacts of migratory beekeeping, colony trade and isolated regions. A total of 29 microsatellite markers were used in four multiplex reactions. The genetic impact of migratory beekeeping was demonstrated based on a comparison of assignment probabilities of individuals to their geographic populations where migratory colonies showed less fidelity. The effects of queen and colony trade were revealed by the presence of introgression from the highly commercial Caucasian bees. 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.