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  1. #1
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    Jul 2010
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    Default mitochondrial dna test results in

    i work with locally adapted stock that has been derived from feral colonies cut out from bee trees. i obtained this stock from a supplier who collected five colonies from the woods back in 1996. this was back when colonies were collapsing left and right as varroa had found its way here and was hitting with a vengeance. as everybody was loosing colonies, this beekeeper located and observed several colonies surviving in the nearby woods. he collected five of them and has been propagating them off treatments ever since. two of those five are viable to this day and have not required re-queening. the supplier maintains about 100 colonies most of which are used for nuc and queen production and a handful being kept for honey production. i have been working with them since 2010, and i am finding winter survival, temperament, and honey production are all very good with these bees.

    after learning that feral bees were being studied and some of them were found to have maternal ancestry other than what is used commercially in the u.s., (namely the mitochondrial m and o lines vs. the c lines), i became interested in trying to find the lineage of these bees. randy oliver suggested that i contact allen szalanski at the university of arkansas who has been studying the genetics of feral bees. i did, and he graciously agreed to the test the mitochondrial dna from four samples.

    i received the results yesterday, and it turns out that all four samples were found to be of c1 lineage which is the one most commonly found in u.s. stock. so these are neither africanized nor are they derived from the earlier lineages that precede what is being used commercially today.

    this is interesting to me as it suggests that the genetic lines in common use can develop survival and resistance traits. it is possible that these colonies are receiving genes/traits from the other lines via drone contribution and there are the environmental factors to consider as well. the safest assumption is that it a combination of factors involved and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if their performance varied in different parts of the country.

    my next step in trying to learn about what may or may not be special about these bees is to send queens to baton rouge for study and that they might be able to quantify resistant behaviors.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Bowie, Maryland
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    45

    Default Re: mitochondrial dna test results in

    What if it is nature and nurture?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    908

    Default Re: mitochondrial dna test results in

    The mitochondrial ancestry of a bee has only a vanishing relationship with the nuclear (genetic) expression of its traits. mDNA is passed unchanged from mother to daughter -- affected only by the occasional mistake in transmission. It represents no selection or assortment, in distinct comparison to Nuclear DNA which is recombined uniquely in every generation (including the haploid drones which undergo "crossing over" in Meiotic Prophase I).

    Where populations are concerned mDNA provides evidence of phylogeny (relationship among lineages). This is because unique mutations have geographic origin, and their absorbtion into a population is evidence of the flow of genetic material. Within the north American hybrid swarm, the residual prescence of one mDNA or another doesn't tell us much about the current generation expression of traits, simply that substantial variation (against which selection can act) can be imputed from the evidence of diverse distant mothers.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: mitochondrial dna test results in

    Quote Originally Posted by gjt View Post
    What if it is nature and nurture?
    imo it's very likely both, and we're still trying to understand the exact roles of each.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
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    Default Re: mitochondrial dna test results in

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Within the north American hybrid swarm, the residual prescence of one mDNA or another doesn't tell us much about the current generation expression of traits, simply that substantial variation (against which selection can act) can be imputed from the evidence of diverse distant mothers.
    that appears to be the case jwc. since we found that these bees don't a special maternal lineage, and since they have been open mating for many generations, it stands to reason that there is a high level of hybridization in them, and perhaps that imparts some survival advantage. is there a 'metric' for hybridization?

    or perhaps the environmental factors trump genetics and we just happen to have good temperatures and the right mix and abundance of flora here.

    again, i suspect that all of these factors (including some we may not be considering) play a role, and while there's a part of me that really wants to understand why the bees are successful, the more practical side of me is content enough just seeing that they are.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Ithaca, NY USA
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    Default Re: mitochondrial dna test results in

    or perhaps the environmental factors trump genetics and we just happen to have good temperatures and the right mix and abundance of flora here.
    It bears repeating that location can have a profound effect on beekeeping outcome. When bees do well in a given location, it is tempting to suppose they have adapted to the location. However, one must factor in the actual effect that the location is producing on the given metrics.

    Our results show that the colonies we compared showed high variability in the expression of the swarming, defensive and hygienic behaviour traits. The factor exerting the strongest influence was location, which can be seen as the sum of all abiotic and biotic components in a given environment. The length of the active season, which in our study varied from four up to 10 months, together with food availability, significantly affected development trajectories of the colonies at different locations

    colonies were managed according to the locally prevailing beekeeping practice, which therefore also contributed to the influence exerted by the factor location. The influence of the factor genotype was found to be generally weaker in comparison to location, yet in many cases it was significant.

    For all characters, the variability among locations was higher than the variability among genotypes.

    Journal of Apicultural Research 53(2): 248-260 (2014) IBRA 2014

  7. #7
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    Default Re: mitochondrial dna test results in

    bingo. looking forward to reading that one, thanks for the reference plb.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #8

    Default Re: mitochondrial dna test results in

    Thanks for sharing sp.
    I expect that many would have been hoping for some exotic maternal lineage and would have been disappointed.
    Good information.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  9. #9
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    Default Re: mitochondrial dna test results in

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Thanks for sharing sp.
    I expect that many would have been hoping for some exotic maternal lineage and would have been disappointed.
    Good information.
    many thanks dan. i guess it would have been cool if we would have found out these had some exotic lineage, but on the other hand it raises hope because that is not necessarily needed to get resistance.

    there may be many factors at play here, but on the genetic front i believe at this point it's the high level of hybridization and the outbreeding with ferals that is giving some advantage.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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