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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    A drone is haploid (one set of genes) as all gametes are (the female and male gametes). If all haploid cells were identical from the same source (your mother or father for example) then all of your siblings would be identical. They are not. Each of those gametes is a random single set of genes selected from pairs of genes. For each gene there is a 50/50 chance which of those two genes will be in that gamete. With each a random choice, the total results are very unlikely to ever be identical. So each unfertilized egg from the queen is unlikely to ever be identical to any other one.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    >and they are like an image in a mirror, right ? For her sexual cells, these pairs of cromossomes split apart and form only one rank. In the sexual cells you will have single iqual ranks os cromossomes, is it not ?

    They are not mirrors. Let's take the obvious human illustrations. Your dad maybe is heterogeneous for brown eyes, meaning he has a brown eye gene, which is dominant and causes him to have brown eyes, but he also has a blue eye gene which is not dominant. His child could get the brown eye gene or the blue eye gene and the odds of either is 50/50. Then we move to another gene, let's say hair color, and he has a blonde hair gene and a black hair gene, so his hair is black, but the changes are 50/50 that he will pass that gene and 50/50 that he will pass the blonde hair gene. For each gene you have a 50/50 chance and the resulting possible combinations are extremely large. And that is just the simplistic Mendelian model. Recent years have revealed even more complex things happening.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #43
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    They are not mirrors
    You are right Michael . In fact in a pair of chromossomes each of them is different, as they have a diferent origin. And also you must account for the different ability for the expression of each gene.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  5. #44
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Quote Originally Posted by PyroBee View Post
    I asked because everything you hear is to select from a queen that has the traits that you want. But how watered down are the offsprings going to be? From what you selected may not what you desire and then she may mate with a less desirable drone. So end result may not be exactly what you want. Is this a correct observation?
    I pondered this question when I first delved into raising some queens here, and eventually I sat down and did a little math, the answer became rather obvious. This is vastly over-simplified, but, it well illustrates the point.

    Go online, read, read, and read more, eventually you will come to the conclusion that fresh young queens go out and mate with some number of drones, and see numbers between 10 and 20 quoted all over the place. sooo, we simplify, split the difference, and assume our fresh young queen has mated with 15 different drones, then comes back and starts laying eggs.

    The next simplifying assumption, all that sperm has been well mixed, so, every time she fertilizes an egg, it has a 1 in 15 probability of having any one of the drones as father.

    Next, we graft a dozen cells and raise them. With a dozen cells, we are GUARANTEED that at least 3 of the potential fathers will not be present in the new queens. We can watch and test every possible way since wednesday, but, there is a 3 out of 15 probability that NONE of the new queens we have raised has the best combination of traits.

    The solution then comes in numbers. Instead of grafting a dozen, we graft 150 from this same queen mother, and raise them all. Now we can watch and test this batch of 150 new queens every which way since wednesday, and eventually all of that data should start to show differences between various queens in the batch. We will likely then end up homing in on 10 of them as showing the 'best' set of traits we are looking for, because statistically, in this batch, we have roughly 10 young queens from each potential combination. 150 young queens, with 15 different fathers randomly spread, means we should have about 10 from each father, with all 15 sub-families represented in the batch.

    And this is the crux of it all. Yes, it makes sense to choose your best queen for raising offspring, but, unless you are doing significant numbers and rigorous monitoring for various traits, it really is a bit of a crap shoot as to what you will end up with in the end. Working with small numbers in the dozen to 3 dozen range, you really dont have a large enough sample to home in on specific traits consistently in an open mating situation. Then when you allow for the scenario that each of the daughters has mated with a different set of drones, potentially from lots of other sources, the lack of numbers in the program really starts to show how fast your stock will go from 'my perfectly selected premium queen' to 'just run of the mill bees in the area'.

    The numbers get even worse if you home in on one specific trait which happens to be regressive, because it takes 2 generations to confirm presence of a recessive trait. So if you want a statistically significant sample of the second generation, then you need to get 150 daughters from each and every one of those original sub-families, so gen 2 involves ending up keeping detailed records on over 2000 grand-daughters. Now the problem has increased in scale by over an order of magnitude, so you need LOTS and LOTS of equipment, combined with LOTS and LOTS of time to do the monitoring. Even if you apply various ways and means to optimize the process with lots of fancy statistical methods, you still end up looking at hundreds of grand-daughters in the pool in your hunt for 'that one'.

    I spent an evening with spreadsheets doing math, and my conclusion was, at our scale here of a couple dozen colonies, a serious program of selection for specific traits is kind of a pointless exercise, because over 3 or 4 generations, our bee yard will end up reverting to the background genetic pool anyways, unless we are bringing in pre-selected stock each and every year. The other point I took from the exercise, those folks selling premium queens that are the result of a large selection program, have earned every penny of the $500 charged for those expensive breeder queens.

    But, just because we dont have enough colonies to do a serious program for multi-trait selection, doesn't mean I'm going to just pick my mothers for grafting willy nilly out of our existing colonies. Ofc I'm going to choose the queen that has given us the best results. Then again, maybe not, because the bees have other ideas. This year, I had my 'best mother queen' all mapped out to use for next years spring grafts, in fact, I had my first, second, and third choices all mapped out, in the colonies, marked, ready for next spring. And during our fall final inspection, what did I find ? All 3 of those colonies had unmarked queens walking around laying eggs, so all 3 of my chosen queens have been superceeded. So, we have essentially arrived back to square one, all my records we kept this summer, apply not to the queens in the boxes, but to their mothers.

    I am not going to be able to do a rigourous selection program to breed the 'super queen', I just dont have enough colonies to start down the path of statistically significant numbers, and if I did, it's doubtful I would have the time to do the meticulous testing and record keeping required. But, I will still raise queens myself in the spring, it's part of our swarm management strategy. The next round of selection we do here, comes from mother nature, who uses a rather cruel selection method, but I cant graft from a dead colony, so it's a rather firm selection method as well. We will look at our colonies in the spring, and when it's time to graft, we will pick the colony that looks best around mid april, and whichever queen is in that colony, will become the 'queen mother' for spring grafts. After the spring honey flow, we'll do another round, and whichever hive produced the most honey, will become the mother for that round. But I'm not going to delude myself that I'm doing serious selection and/or breeding, I'm just producing queens for our own management methods, on our schedule. At most, I'll have a small influence in pushing the background genetics in our chosen direction thru this exercise.

  6. #45
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Do the environmental factors help to determine which traits are expressed? Perhaps altering the odds from 50/50 to something better.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  7. #46
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Techincally NO, but unfortunately YES.
    NO in that recombinant DNA works in random. I'm not saying that it is not influenced by temperature, or other environmental factor. More human males are born during times of war, more females are born during times of peace, leading me to believe that environment does indeed have something to do with at least gender prevalence, if not trait expression.

    YES in the way many "non-scientist" beekeeper / queen rearer selects "best" queens is to not keep track of at least the mother queen, and to consider the erroneous idea that the colony that has the most honey has "high honey production" as a colony trait.

    For example: On a dry year, almost no sage flowers nor buckwheat open. A colony with a tendency to travel 5 miles to a favorite nectar / pollen source brings in a fair amount of creosote honey / pollen. Joe Beek breeds from this, his "best colony", and marks that box.

    The next year is a wet one, his home-bred bees still do make some honey - more than before in fact - but the swarms he caught the previous March out-produce last year's honey champions by 75 pounds. The swarms are survivor bees that really increase hard on wet years, take advantage of a single early source of pollen like alder or Bradford pear, and go berserk on avocado, mustard, orange, sage, buckwheat, sumacs and rabbitbush for the rest of the year. Last year's "best bees" populated up in time to catch the sumacs.

    So Joe Beek breeds from these very different bees, which happen to open-mate with the creosote bees' drones, and the resulting offspring have a mix of traits. Some of these offspring colonies are good at certain flowers, others are good at dry-year flowers and timing, but Joe has kept track of neither blood lines nor traits - he's throwing darts in the dark. The bees don't know what they are good at - they just do their best with what the year gives them. The results vary.

    Had Joe Beek raised a bloodline of 150 colonies favoring local dry-year patterns and another bloodline with 150 colonies favoring traits that really shine in wet years, at least one of his bloodlines should produce very well, while the other hopefully survives, maybe with a little help like a frame of brood, a frame of honey, extra feeding, etc. The effect is that he rarely has a "bad" year.

    He should have some genetic progress after a couple of decades just by keeping track of the mother queen bloodlines and recording the important traits.

    Had he BOUGHT some excellent stock to begin with, and open-mated them with local bees, he may have realized considerably more total honey production from many of his colonies. And this large increase in honey yield would have repeated for the 2 or 3 or maybe 4 decades it would have taken him to raise his own bloodlines. How much money is that? I tremble to think of it, but it probably could have bought him a semi-truck and a forklift, and maybe some more honey room equipment.

    Those good years can really put some cash in a beekeeper's bank account. The truck, forklift, and honey room make the lean years better. It all adds up. The sum depends on the beekeeper, his practices, the bees & their genetics, the years and the weather they throw at us, the land that produces the flowers (is more of it producing shopping mall parking lots every year?), the pests and diseases, and how the beekeeper and the bees respond to the pests and diseases, and probably a lot of other factors.

    The presence of mites can drastically change the performance of a bee colony, and a mite-free colony will likely out-perform a colony that fights off mites successfully twice in a year. The bee breeder should be very interested in breeding that second colony that fought off mite explosions hard twice in one year! Especially if the bloodline shows little tendency for brood diseases and nosema (both types). We must try to keep data on a level playing field, separating "mite load performance" and "beekeeper mistake performance" in our data, and separating them by yard locations, and other significant factors.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 10-23-2015 at 09:35 PM.

  8. #47
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Antonioh - As I understand - somebody please correct me here in public if I am wrong - a chromosome is a double helix, that is, a DNA molecule. Queen honeybees have 32 of them, their eggs have only 16. Dones have only 16, and their sperm have only 16 chromosomes. (Incidentally, a drone has 16 chromosomes, his sperm have 16 chromosomes - all one drone's sperm are identical to each other, but drones from the same mother are not necessarily identical to each other.

    A gene is essentially a "rung" or link on that twisted DNA "ladder". This is where it gets confusing. The outside "rails" of the DNA "ladder" come apart at the middle of the "rungs", usually. But they do not necessarily re-combine with the exact same chemical. The twisted DNA ladders have a hello of a lot of "rungs", or genes. I don't know how many - it varies with each species, but its a BIG number. Mapping these genes, exactly where they occur along the DNA is called making a genotype. All (or most) of the possible chemical groups that can occupy a location are accounted for. Each chemical group that may attach to a "rung" influences a trait expression. Some traits are dominant, some are recessive, with multiple traits expressed by different chemical groups in similar locations along the DNA, some are not so clear about being "recessive" vs "dominant", but relative % expressions may occur. Some traits are expressed by multiple genes in various forms. it gets a bit complex.

    Suppose there are 4 different common molecules present that could complete such a "rung". These 4 candidate molecules have different concentrations, and different propensities to combine with the "half rung" still connected to the "rail" or "half-twisted ladder". So the recombination of the DNA will make 2 new "ladders", but necessarily identical to the original, and not necessarily to identical to each other, though identical is still one of the possible results, just very unlikely when the DNA molecule is a large one, the larger, the less likely to throw a "clone".

    I use this simplified "ladder" analogy that I have seen in animation from scientific documentaries, probably a bit out of date. I need to get up to date on this image's accuracy, and the current technical terms for each piece. I readily admit that I am not up to date, and that without this "ladder analogy" I am still a bit foggy on how DNA really works.

    The larger picture is cell division - both kinds (meiosis and mitosis), plus abnormal. Prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, and cytokinesis probably all have their own influence on trait expression. If something goes wrong in any of these "phases" (cytokinesis is not a phase, but completes mitotic cell division), a trait's expression may be influenced. So a generation may not express a trait to it's fullest, but it may pass along a trait to a successive generation that does express that trait to it's fullest form.

    Meiosis I and Meiosis II are different in males and females. Check out Wikipedia for better explanations than which I am capable.

    It becomes apparent that variation within a group of similarities will include an extreme or two here and there, even an outright different result occasionally (mutation). That anything is identical seems most improbable, but again, it IS possible. About like throwing bricks in the air and they fall down in the shape of a building. Possible, not very probable.

  9. #48
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Hello! I read all the comments here and I intend to give an opinion. This is a matter which bother years and suggest to avoid unnecessary speculation. Genetic code in DNA is accurate information. Regardless of how he held a recombination, it shows a sign only if there are conditions for it. The conditions can be not only epigenetic, but also those from the environment or artificially imposed. We see only dominant traits in bees and bee colony. The collapse of the scars in generations is quite a separate issue, but it is subject to conditions. Nevertheless, there are and that there is, they occur where there is reason. So today the selection is considered much - deeper and longer genetics can not cover its needs. However, it is a solid base on which can move every coach. The genetic information obtained from the drones is a powerful factor and is characterized by its speed. Can not say the same about its stability. It comes fast, but quickly goes away. Precisely because of this, and the selection process is to constant X / crosses /. Greetings!

  10. #49
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Reading through this thread was like being in Alice in Wonderland when all the leaves were falling. Get a copy of Breeding the Honeybee by Brother Adam and see why the queen has an inordinate influence on the offspring. Also see why it is important to select the very best for breeding and why it is necessary to focus on a broad set of important traits and ignore things that don't matter.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  11. #50
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    This is a great thread for learning and to assist in breeding queens to better fit what is wanted. I am still unclear how the blending out takes place. If the Africanized bee is blending into a hybridized or milder mannered bee, is this blending factor the result of chromosomal selection or is there a blending of DNA through some other process??? LP

  12. #51
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    I spoke of the "twisted ladder" analogy of the DNA molecule. The ladder usually splits along the middle of each "rung", each rung is made of this chemical or that. Each specific chemical element in each "half rung" can combine with x number of other chemicals only. Which one that combines that location determines the exact trait expressed by that new, completed rung. Each chemical competing to fit into that location has a % propensity to adhere to the one on the "half rung", and may be in greatly concentrated quantity or sparsely concentrated. This {propensity x concentration} makes up part of trait dominance or recessiveness. Some traits prove fatal in some conditions, and are self-regulating if they do not support survival before another reproductive cycle occurs.

    Mutations occur when chromosome splits incompletely (among other reasons). Where on the ladder it splits affects the outcome. This also indicates to the genetics researcher how "near" or "far" along the ladder traits are from each other.

    In nature, "blending out" traits occurs at random mixing and re-combining of chromosomes, and by survival of the fittest in the conditions that Mother Nature throws at them. In breeding, it occurs when the beekeeper 1) breeds bees with the desired traits, 2) de-selects the colonies with undesirable traits by killing drones and their queen, and 3) re-queening with a queen that has desirable traits, but also by 4) survival of the fittest over which the beekeeper has only some or little or even no control.

    AHB have many wonderful traits, except for maybe 4 that beekeepers would prefer otherwise - hive defensiveness, absconding, poor cold tolerance, and usurping other hives. It would take a lot of matings, trait identification, and de-selection to get an outcrossed Italian X AHB colony with all the desirable traits and none (or at least an acceptable level) of the undesirable traits.

    I have tried in the past crossing AHB with Buckfast bees, but the AHB colonies tend to raid the other bees hives, kill the queen, and move in to take over for good. I can tell you they are a PITA. I kept AHB colonies under 3 cages made of queen excluders on a cliff in a remote section of the forest so that no queens nor drones could get out. I had to arrive at the top in beekeeper gear with a harness already on, light 4 smokers, and rappel down to the ledge/cave where the little she-demons lived. I'd usually have to use so much smoke that they'd stop flying, then I'd spray them with water. I'd put a net over the entire thing, crawl in, and open the cages and hive to work them. Every last bee had to go back in the hive before I got out from under the net (battery powered vacuum cleaner did the trick). My early efforts at I.I. were not yet ready for this kind of operation, and I did not want anything greater than 1/8th AHB crosses flying around the bee yard. That all ended when the sand shifted and snuffed out the bees. I'll go get training from Dr. Cobey and get my I.I. skills up to par before continuing along that route!
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 12-05-2015 at 04:46 PM.

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Thanx for that explanation. you are to be commended for your patience and willingness to tolerate less educated folks like me. I do appreciate your efforts and willingness to share in an unselfish way. LP

  14. #53
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Well, glad to help if it helps, but like Fusion Power says, I'm just Alice in Wonderland, not an expert in genetics, so read Brother Adam's book, too. He bred bees and made mead for something like 75 or 80 years. I'd suppose there is a good chance he has something to say...

  15. #54
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Yes, as larrypeterson said, thanks.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  16. #55
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    Default Re: Queens and genetics

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    ...I spent an evening with spreadsheets doing math, and my conclusion was, at our scale here of a couple dozen colonies, a serious program of selection for specific traits is kind of a pointless exercise, because over 3 or 4 generations, our bee yard will end up reverting to the background genetic pool anyways, unless we are bringing in pre-selected stock each and every year...
    Well, more like 20 generations, depending on your breeding program. I bring this up just to mention that yes, if open mating your bees, bringing in pre-selected stock every year (preferably rotating from different breeders each year) in order to introduce desirable traits in great numbers and encourage recessive traits should be standard practice if one is trying to develop a bloodline.

    Breeding a large number of colonies allows for stronger selection for a specific trait (interpret that as DE-selection of colonies not expressing that trait). (Hint: the traits that you have in the bloodline are already highly expressed in your apiary are kept as bloodline stock. Do not de-select these! You will eventually develop an overall scoring system, and emphasize certain traits over others as conditions change over the years.)

    Strong selectivity and large numbers of colonies achieves genetic goals in a shorter time period. Instrumental Insemination brings about a rapid advance toward a genetic goal. Dr. Susan Cobey developed the New World Carniolan bees in 10 years using I.I. and serious selectivity. That's lightning fast in genetics. Reminds me of the joke, "What does a slug say when riding on a turtle's back? Answer = "Weeeeeeeeee!""

    Trait testing is not as massive as you'd think. If you visit your bees each week to 10 days, you should have a feel for which colonies are strong in which trait. Record keeping may reveal some of the more subtle trait expressions. You're only recording from the best candidates. Start with your best 10% of your colonies and pull the drone frames of the worst 60% and re-queen those. Inquire about traits from other successful breeders and bring in some each year, evaluate them, breed from their best.

    So there is a point after all - develop and maintain bees with desirable traits such as mite mauling, VSH, high honey production for the local flora, low nosema occurence, etc., by selective breeding, trait testing, record keeping, and obtaining queens with desirable traits each year to maintain excellent stock.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 12-05-2015 at 09:13 PM.

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