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Bouga M.,Agricultural University of Athens | Alaux C.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Bienkowska M.,Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture | Buchler R.,LLH Bieneninstitut Kirchhain | And 22 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2011

Here, scientists from 19 European countries, most of them collaborating in Working Group 4: "Diversity and Vitality" of COST Action FA 0803 "Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes" (COLOSS), review the methodology applied in each country for discriminating between honey bee populations. Morphometric analyses (classical and geometric) and different molecular markers have been applied. Even if the approach has been similar, however, different methodologies regarding measurements, landmarks or molecular markers may have been used, as well as different statistical procedures. There is therefore the necessity to establish common methods in all countries in order to have results that can be directly compared. This is one of the goals of WG4 of the COLOSS project. © IBRA 2011.

Pinto M.A.,Polytechnic Institute of Braganca | Henriques D.,Polytechnic Institute of Braganca | Chavez-Galarza J.,Polytechnic Institute of Braganca | Kryger P.,University of Aarhus | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2014

The recognition that the Dark European honey bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, is increasingly threatened in its native range has led to the establishment of conservation programmes and protected areas throughout western Europe. Previous molecular surveys showed that, despite management strategies to preserve the genetic integrity of A. m. mellifera, protected populations had a measurable component of their gene pool derived from commercial C-lineage honey bees. Here we used both sequence data from the tRNAleu-cox2 intergenic mtDNA region and a genome-wide scan, with over 1183 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), to assess genetic diversity and introgression levels in several protected populations of A. m. mellifera, which were then compared with samples collected from unprotected populations. MtDNA analysis of the protected populations revealed a single colony bearing a foreign haplotype, whereas SNPs showed varying levels of introgression ranging from virtually zero in Norway to about 14% in Denmark. Introgression overall was higher in unprotected (30%) than in protected populations (8%), and is reflected in larger SNP diversity levels of the former, although opposite diversity levels were observed for mtDNA. These results suggest that, despite controlled breeding, some protected populations still require adjustments to the management strategies to further purge foreign alleles, which can be identified by SNPs. © IBRA 2014.

Wallberg A.,Uppsala University | Han F.,Uppsala University | Wellhagen G.,Uppsala University | Dahle B.,Norwegian Beekeepers Association | And 8 more authors.
Nature Genetics | Year: 2014

The honeybee Apis mellifera has major ecological and economic importance. We analyze patterns of genetic variation at 8.3 million SNPs, identified by sequencing 140 honeybee genomes from a worldwide sample of 14 populations at a combined total depth of 634×. These data provide insight into the evolutionary history and genetic basis of local adaptation in this species. We find evidence that population sizes have fluctuated greatly, mirroring historical fluctuations in climate, although contemporary populations have high genetic diversity, indicating the absence of domestication bottlenecks. Levels of genetic variation are strongly shaped by natural selection and are highly correlated with patterns of gene expression and DNA methylation. We identify genomic signatures of local adaptation, which are enriched in genes expressed in workers and in immune system- and sperm motility-related genes that might underlie geographic variation in reproduction, dispersal and disease resistance. This study provides a framework for future investigations into responses to pathogens and climate change in honeybees.

Van Der Zee R.,Netherlands Center for Bee Research | Pisa L.,Netherlands Center for Bee Research | Andonov S.,Faculty for Agricultural Science and Food | Brodschneider R.,University of Graz | And 33 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2012

In 2008 the COLOSS network was formed by honey bee experts from Europe and the USA. The primary objectives set by this scientific network were to explain and to prevent large scale losses of honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies. In June 2008 COLOSS obtained four years support from the European Union from COST and was designated as COST Action FA0803 - COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes). To enable the comparison of loss data between participating countries, a standardized COLOSS questionnaire was developed. Using this questionnaire information on honey bee losses has been collected over two years. Survey data presented in this study were gathered in 2009 from 12 countries and in 2010 from 24 countries. Mean honey bee losses in Europe varied widely, between 7-22% over the 2008-9 winter and between 7-30% over the 2009-10 winter. An important finding is that for all countries which participated in 2008-9, winter losses in 2009-10 were found to be substantially higher. In 2009-10, winter losses in South East Europe were at such a low level that the factors causing the losses in other parts of Europe were absent, or at a level which did not affect colony survival. The five provinces of China, which were included in 2009-10, showed very low mean (4%) A. mellifera winter losses. In six Canadian provinces, mean winter losses in 2010 varied between 16-25%, losses in Nova Scotia (40%) being exceptionally high. In most countries and in both monitoring years, hobbyist beekeepers (1-50 colonies) experienced higher losses than practitioners with intermediate beekeeping operations (51-500 colonies). This relationship between scale of beekeeping and extent of losses effect was also observed in 2009-10, but was less pronounced. In Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, 2008-9 mean winter losses for beekeepers who reported 'disappeared' colonies were significantly higher compared to mean winter losses of beekeepers who did not report 'disappeared' colonies. Mean 2008-9 winter losses for those beekeepers in the Netherlands who reported symptoms similar to "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD), namely: 1. no dead bees in or surrounding the hive while; 2. capped brood was present, were significantly higher than mean winter losses for those beekeepers who reported 'disappeared' colonies without the presence of capped brood in the empty hives. In the winter of 2009-10 in the majority of participating countries, beekeepers who reported 'disappeared' colonies experienced higher winter losses compared with beekeepers, who experienced winter losses but did not report 'disappeared' colonies. © IBRA 2012.

Van Der Zee R.,Netherlands Center for Bee Research | Brodschneider R.,University of Graz | Brusbardis V.,Latvian Beekeepers Association | Charriere J.-D.,Swiss Bee Research Center | And 16 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2014

This article presents results of an analysis of winter losses of honey bee colonies from 19 mainly European countries, most of which implemented the standardised 2013 COLOSS questionnaire. Generalised linear mixed effects models (GLMMs) were used to investigate the effects of several factors on the risk of colony loss, including different treatments for Varroa destructor, allowing for random effects of beekeeper and region. Both winter and summer treatments were considered, and the most common combinations of treatment and timing were used to define treatment factor levels. Overall and within country colony loss rates are presented. Significant factors in the model were found to be: percentage of young queens in the colonies before winter, extent of queen problems in summer, treatment of the varroa mite, and access by foraging honey bees to oilseed rape and maize. Spatial variation at the beekeeper level is shown across geographical regions using random effects from the fitted models, both before and after allowing for the effect of the significant terms in the model. This spatial variation is considerable. © IBRA 2014.

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