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  1. #1
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    Default Is queen color a dominant trait?

    One of my queens is almost all black. 98 % anyway. I realize the multiple drone matings and the variety of daughters. What has to happen genetically to produce a black daughter queen?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    Since your queen is already almost completely black, you will need to mate her to other black drones (or as many as possible). Color can be a hard trait to get because you don't often know if the queen's or the drone's ancestors had that same black gene or whether it is recessive or dominant. So your best bet would be to keep the desirable drones (the black ones) around a virgin queen and inhibit the drones with the lighter colors so they don't fertilize her. If your queen that you describe is already laying eggs, then you need to somehow produce a virgin queen, preferibly many, then select the darkest queen and mate her with the darker drones.

    I hope this helped.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    Yes, it helps. Aside from artificial insemination, or, over populating the drone spectrum with black, drones, it is pretty much what ever open mating produces. I'm thinking about a round of queens to over winter some Nucs. Might punch a few of her eggs to see what happens. Does that make it recessive I guess?
    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    You will know if it's recessive if most of the offspring are different in color. If it is a dominant trait it will produce black bees most of the time. It can be hard to determine if it is either because the queen mates with so many drones. It's more like a guideline.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    Gotcha,,,,What I do not understand is how it plays into queens being heterozygous, and drones homozygous. I know enough to know I don't understand.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    Queens are heterozygous because they have both a mother and a father as they come from a fertilized egg. Drones are homozygous because they only have a mother as they come from unfertilized eggs. The drones still pass genes down, but only the ones of their mother. Queens pass genes down from their mother and father. So, only during every other generation (when new drones are added) will it affect the gene pool (assuming you use the same hive every year and they make their own queens). By always adding more or keeping black drones in the yard, you will eventually get black bees. I'll try and find you a chart I once saw to help understand this.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    What color are the worker bees? The daughter queen would resemble the workers.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    Cool chart thanks. I love the part where it says, "to keep keep it more simple" It is a better understanding of the real world of bee genes.
    Hopefully tomorrow. I plan an inspection. There should be ample daughters to view. I'll post on You tube if it is worthy.
    Thanks

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    Have fun and good luck!

  11. #11
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    New Albany, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    There are many genes that control color. It is along the lines of an additive effect in that the more "dark" colored genes the bee has the darker it will be. The more "light" colored genes it has the lighter in color it will be. Light coloration appears to be slightly more influential. As JD wrote, take a look at the worker offspring which should give you a pretty good indication of what to expect if they were queens. Coloration is not an either or situation, just look at all of the different colors you see in the worker offspring.
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    I've done some test breeding to see the consistency of daughter queens from several of my queens. I have one standard solid black Carnie queen that produces so far, 100% of the time, huge daughters with a large black thorax and long blond abdomen. Really striking and super easy to see with the small black carnie workers. Remember, you will see dominant genes or homozygous recessive ones. What you can't see is the single recessive gene they may carry. Simplest way would be to so some tests.
    Since my Carnie queen is so consistent with what she produces, it is safe to determine she has several positive homozygous Dominant traits. That means I can rely on her to, time after time, produce consistantly nearly identical daughters. Now if those Daughters are great layers, etc etc and will over winter well..I'll be happy for sure.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    If you dig around on the net, you will find some information showing that there are 7 different genes that control color in honeybees. There is one oddball gene for yellow that derives only from african stock, and the cordovan gene that results in golden yellow bees when combined with genetics for yellow or in a purplish color if combined with genes for black. Generally speaking, black is dominant over yellow, but keep in mind that with 7 genes, you have to get nearly all of them to one particular combination to get a pure black queen or a pure yellow queen. This is only important if color is a significant part of your breeding objective. IMO, color should only be considered important because it has a measurable impact on wintering effectiveness in northern climates
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    thanks all,
    I'm more interested in quality queens. This is a novelty,,,,,interesting and am learning more in the process. There seems to be some fascination with all black queens though.

  15. #15
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    Augusta County, VA, USA
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    ...IMO, color should only be considered important because it has a measurable impact on wintering effectiveness in northern climates
    Can you elaborate?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    A color can be dominant or recessive, but sex of the carrier does not influence it. But bees as others have mentioned are also unique in how the genes are passed on. the queen has more say or votes if you prefer to look at it that way. You also may have genes that show up more and more depending on just how many of them are in the mix. In chickens for example with one white gene which is actually a mutation that is semi dominant and 3 black genes you will get a black and white chicken. with two white and two black you will get a grey or "Dunn color" also called blue. with more white genes you will end up with a white chicken. Then there are different types of white genes that cause other color variation. Since white in a chicken is actually a mutation it is an extreme example of just how a mutation that is dominant can take over. Most people think that the normal chicken is white because it is so common among chickens.

    Same thing with bees. A dominant mutated gene could very well be behind the problems such as CCD. not making that claim just pointing out the possibility. If so it would go a long way toward explaining why it is so difficult to figure out. Certainly if it is a gene that has no visible expression. or obvious clear visible expression such as hygienic behavior for example. Proliferation in egg laying as another. these are harder to see and monitor.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    Nice example Daniel.
    Breeding bees has been challenging and somewhat different that other livestock such as rabbits and horses. Different is the fact by the time you get your best queen chosen and do some test daughters, your season is over for the year (In my area anyway) you must overwinter your breeder queen successfully before you can really get into production.

    Breeding rabbits was a great ay to see quick results of color genetics. Breeding horses takes a year and you get one example, but luckily there are labs you can send DNA sample to to get results for some color or disease genes in just a few days-saving you thousands of dollars and years of trying.
    Here is one example of how color genes are directly effecting some other body function.
    Below is a paint colt with one copy of the dominant paint color gene 'Overo':




    Below, out of the same mare (Who is overo positive) is a sample of what they call Lethal White Overo Syndrome.



    This colt has two copies of the Overo gene and they are always born solid white. The problem is the overo gene also effects the formation of the gut. In homozygous form, the gut is not functional and the foals will colic and die within hours of their first nursing.
    You can see how color genes can really be a helpful visual marker for other traits..both positive and negative depending on how they are applied. Luckily they now have a genetic test for the overo gene and this breeding result can be avoided simply by having one parent negative for the gene. This poor little guy got a quick 22 mag. round before he could suffer (After some love from me of course)
    Think of the old wives tales, such as"Buckskin horses have the best hooves' Hmmmm..Do you think hoof structure could be connected with the cream gene?
    So all this may help some understand the link between color and other features, such as hardiness, CCD, production, temperament, etc. I always pay attention to clues and keep notes from year to year. Sometimes I wil see patterns forming and them experiment with that information.
    The great thing about breeding bees is, like rabbits, you can get several samples of offspring in a single month.
    It drives be a bit crazy to have to let the virgin queens go out and mate with Who knows what though.
    I'll eventually have to get my own insemination equipment..More $$$ though. It will have to wait a while.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    This is a god discussion for me and it is greatly appreciated. Your white colt reminds me of deer I see in our area from time to time and actually squirrels. When we see deer that are mixed white, they are genetics anomalies. It is an indication that the gene pool is too close. I have seen all white but not albino. They are not normal and most do not survive as long. I live near the water and my previous job had me visit some peninsulas. I noticed black squirrels. There is only one specie here, eastern grey, so it too is a genetic anomalie. I suspect the squirrel gene pool may be too close as well because of the isolation. I have no idea if this aides them, other than being more difficult for a predator to spot, or not.
    It is fascinating Guess I'll have to keep notes.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Is queen color a dominant trait?

    Checked them today. Her daughters are all dark bees. I guess that is no surprise really given her parent hive. They do seem to be on the smallish side, Hummmm. Nice temperament. I gave them a compliment of drawn comb. See what they do with that.

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