Bee genes questions?
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  1. #1
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    Default Bee genes questions?

    So I was curious to bring this up and see what people thought about this.

    If you have a black queen, is it typically a given that she will ACT carniolan and not only look carniolan? And is that the same for the other types?

    I basically wondered if there's real correlation between what type they look like, and how they actually act for their genetic inheritance of sub-species? I wonder how much of this we assume, and other thoughts about this. And if there are exceptions, how often do they really occur, or are exceptions pretty slim chances.

    When I watch peoples videos they'll be like...check out this Italian queen, or this Carni or Russian queen, and I wonder how sure they are that its really that type? Do you encounter italian queens that look black for example, or Carnis that look gold instead of dark, etc, and how often?

    I do get that some of the genetic material comes from the drones. But there's a lot I don't get still.

    Like with humans our genes don't correlate with other factors. Like If a blonde hyperactive guy has children, his blonde children may or may not have the hyperactive gene. It doesn't necessarily correlate across the board with many genes of the guy being the same. Do bee genes tend to follow a 'lump sum' transfer (almost clones?) with most following the parent, or do they tend to be total mix like people? Binary or non-binary?

    This is hard to word but I tried my best. And having a scientist describe it may not help because they'll use words we layman people don't really understand. Maybe beeks can explain it better.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    Bees are really mixed. My bees are from whatever swarms I can catch. Currently, very dark colored, many almost pure black. Very calm bees. Two years ago I had a very light blond queen and her offspring were very large, fuzzy yellow bees. Also pretty calm but not as calm as the black ones now. My opinion is that unless you are buying artificially inseminated queens or queens from very isolated breeders, you have little idea what the background of the queen is. I'd like to hear what more educated people think about this, since I may just be incorrect!

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    It seems that you're asking whether there's a correlation between the colour of a sub-species and it's behaviour ? The answer is emphatically NO.

    Perhaps the best example is that of the Carniolan and AMM. Both are black bees and frequently indistinguishable from each other by the beginner, and yet have behaviours which couldn't be more different, with the Carnie being gentle, passive, staying on the comb during inspections, and so on ... with AMM having developed a reputation (well-earned, imo) of being over-defensive and generally very unpleasant to work with. Same colour, but very different bees.

    Do you encounter italian queens that look black for example, or Carnis that look gold instead of dark, etc, and how often?
    Pure-bred Italians, or pure-bred Carniolans ? Never.


    Perhaps it might help if I explained that the colour of honeybees results from a substance called melanin. This is exactly the same biochemical which produces a brown or black skin in humans, and determines the colour of our eyes and hair.

    In honey bees, melanin is synthesised from tyrosine (one of the basic building blocks of proteins) in a four-step sequence involving a specific enzyme at each step. Each enzyme is controlled by a specific gene which inhibits it's action - thus giving a whole range of possible colours, ranging from pure yellow through ever darkening shades of orange and brown, and finally to black. So that the colouring of each individual bee is a direct consequence of it's genetic make-up.

    Gregor Mendel was fortunate to have chosen peas for his work on genetics, where colour can readily be used to indicate parentage - had he chosen bees, then confusion would have resulted - because in the honey bee there is an additional and quite separate 'over-ride' gene which codes for black - which essentially creates a 'default' colour in mongrels - which is why it's fairly safe to say that the vast majority of feral bee colonies will consist of black bees - regardless of their origins - providing they've been separated from managed colonies for a sufficient number of generations, and providing there's a reasonably balanced mix of sub-types within the area.

    Hope this helps, rather than muddying the waters even further.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    This week I marked a small batch of freshly mated sister queens. Two were totally black. One was pure yellow and three or four were tiger striped. Again all sisters grafted from the same mother eggs.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Williamson View Post
    This week I marked a small batch of freshly mated sister queens. Two were totally black. One was pure yellow and three or four were tiger striped. Again all sisters grafted from the same mother eggs.
    And every single mother egg in your batch had (potentially) a different father.
    Hence the looks.
    We don't even know the pending behaviors yet.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by hagane View Post
    ...check out this Italian queen, or this Carni or Russian queen......!
    Unless they are talking of artificially mated queens under 100% control - I would dismiss such talks.

    If anything that makes some sense - one could say - look at this queen that came from sort-of Italian background and was open-mated in predominantly Russian population.
    Anyway...

    So what exactly are you looking at?
    OK, check out this big yellow queen - that is the closest that I can say.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post

    Gregor Mendel was fortunate to have chosen peas for his work on genetics, where colour can readily be used to indicate parentage - had he chosen bees,...

    Hope this helps, rather than muddying the waters even further.
    LJ
    LJ, apparently Mendel did study bees, but had to get rid of them as too mean. From Wiki:

    ...None of his results on bees survived, except for a passing mention in the reports of Moravian Apiculture Society.[34] All that is known definitely is that he used Cyprian and Carniolan bees,[35] which were particularly aggressive to the annoyance of other monks and visitors of the monastery such that he was asked to get rid of them.[36] Mendel, on the other hand, was fond of his bees, and referred to them as "my dearest little animals".[37]...

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post

    Gregor Mendel was fortunate to have chosen peas for his work on genetics, where colour can readily be used to indicate parentage - had he chosen bees,...

    Hope this helps, rather than muddying the waters even further.
    LJ
    LJ, apparently Mendel did study bees, but had to get rid of them as too mean. From Wiki:

    ...None of his results on bees survived, except for a passing mention in the reports of Moravian Apiculture Society.[34] All that is known definitely is that he used Cyprian and Carniolan bees,[35] which were particularly aggressive to the annoyance of other monks and visitors of the monastery such that he was asked to get rid of them.[36] Mendel, on the other hand, was fond of his bees, and referred to them as "my dearest little animals".[37]...

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    Oh - that's brilliant - THANK YOU.

    Another piece of information to be stored away in my "may come in use one day" repository.

    I just love this forum ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    ...apparently Mendel did study bees, but had to get rid of them as too mean.
    Awesome! That is something they did not teach in my biology class, way back when. Just as well, he may have had trouble figuring out dominant and recessive traits had he not.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    ...... he used Cyprian and Carniolan bees,[35] which were particularly aggressive .....
    How about these "aggressive Carniolans".
    Probably only by the looks Carniolans, but otherwise, again, who knows.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    the color has little to do with what you actually have. back when the strains were introduced there were were some typical colors. after a bunch of generations with queens mating with 15 or 20 drones from more than a mile away you end up with bees. hives are made of 1/2 sisters. almost all beekeepers want bees gentle enough to work with, so the gene pool is headed in that direction. 2/3 of the bees are now commercial migratory so the gene pool is going in that direction also. so called pure lines are most often just a sales pitch. even the so called africanized genetics are headed toward easier to work with by way of beekeeper selection. these genes are getting mixed in.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Williamson View Post
    This week I marked a small batch of freshly mated sister queens. Two were totally black. One was pure yellow and three or four were tiger striped. Again all sisters grafted from the same mother eggs.
    And the mother was free mated?

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Bee genes questions?

    From what I have heard along the line Mendel tried his breeding efforts on bees but gave up as it did not work out. The belief at that time was that the queen mated within the hive and life would be a lot easier if that was the fact. Mating with up to 20 drones would not have gone down too well with the monks of that time.

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