A comparison between migratory and stationary colonies, and isolated regions versus regions open to migratory beekeeping.

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Kükrer M., Kence M., Kence A.

4th International Congress of Beekeeping and Honeydew Honey, Muğla, Turkey, 5 - 09 November 2014

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Muğla
  • Country: Turkey


Genetic Diversity of Honey Bee Populations in Turkey Based on

Microsatellite Markers: A Comparison Between Migratory Versus Stationary Apiaries and Isolated Regions versus Regions Open to Migratory Beekeeping

Mert Kükrer1, Devrim Oskay2, Meral Kence1, Aykut Kence1

1 Department of Biological Sciences, Middle East Technical University, Ankara mertkukrer@gmail.com

2 Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Namık Kemal University, Tekirdağ, doskay@yahoo.com

Introduction: The honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) is a globally significant species of apparent economic and ecological importance. Recent reports from Spain, Italy and Greece point to an intense admixture of honey bee populations signified by a loss of population structure. This is mostly attributed to migratory beekeeping practices and replacement of queens or colonies with commercial ones that are usually from non-native races or hybrids of different subspecies. These two practices are also heavily carried out in parts of Turkey where almost three-quarters of the 6 million colonies are transferred seasonally from one region to other.

Materials and Methods: Past research using microsatellite and RAPD markers, mtDNA, allozymes and geometric morphometry revealed the presence of five different subspecies of honey bees (meda, syriaca, caucasica, anatoliaca and an ecotype from Carniolan subspecies group) in Turkey. Here, we carried out an analysis of population structure of Turkish honeybees sampled from six different regions (n = 250) during the period 2010-2012. A total of 29 microsatellite markers were used in four multiplex reactions.

Results: The results show that population structure is preserved in general although there are signs of gene flow between the clusters. Overall FST between stationary colonies was calculated as 0,067. For migratory colonies the value was 0,015 and for all the 250 samples the value was 0,047. Four different clusters corresponding to geographical distributions of four subspecies were revealed in structure analysis. The differentiation between the clusters was also apparent in PCA and FCA as well as phylogenetic trees constructed based on genetic distances.

The genetic impact of migratory beekeeping was demonstrated for the first time based on a comparison of assignment probabilities of individuals from migratory and stationary colonies to their geographic populations. Another comparison between regions that are either open to migratory beekeeping or closed let us to evaluate the status of isolated regions and showed the importance of establishing such regions. The effects of queen and colony trade were revealed by the presence of introgression from the highly commercial Caucasian bees.

Conclusion: Our findings confirm the previously observed high levels geographically structured genetic diversity in honey bees of Turkey and emphasize the need to develop policies to maintain this diversity.