Genetic integrity of the Dark European honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) from protected populations: a genome-wide assessment using SNPs and mtDNA sequence data Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Apicultural Research

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Pinto, M. A., Henriques, D., Chvez-Galarza, J., Kryger, P., Garnery, L., van der Zee, R., ... Johnston, J. S.

citation count

  • 75

complete list of authors

  • Pinto, M Alice||Henriques, Dora||Chávez-Galarza, Julio||Kryger, Per||Garnery, Lionel||van der Zee, Romée||Dahle, Bjørn||Soland-Reckeweg, Gabriele||de la Rúa, Pilar||Dall' Olio, Raffaele||Carreck, Norman L||Johnston, J Spencer

publication date

  • January 2014