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Evidence for intra-colonial genetic variance in resistance to American foulbrood of honey bees ( Apis mellifera): further support for the parasite/pathogen hypothesis for the evolution of polyandry.

Palmer KA1, Oldroyd BP.

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Explanations for the evolution of multiple mating by social insect (particularly honey bee) queens have been frequently sought. An important hypothesis is that multiple mating is adaptive because it increases intracolonial genetic diversity and thereby reduces the likelihood that parasites or pathogens will catastrophically infect a colony. We tested one assumption of this model: that honey bee worker patrilines should differ in disease resistance. We used American foulbrood (caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae) as a model pathogen. We found that patrilines within colonies do indeed vary in their resistance to this disease.

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thanks for posting this and the previous abstract ab.

kinda makes sense if you think about it. it's comforting when science backs up what intuition infers.

unmanaged hives are making a pro-varroa comeback, and i would suspect they are out performing commercial stock with respect to survival (which implies natural resistance to varroa and other threats).

it's likely that opportunities are better for genetic diversity in unmanaged populations that are sufficiently removed from commercial stock.

i also believe that areas with bountiful floral diversity and still enough trees standing set the stage for unmanaged bees to flourish. this may be accomplished by providing the optimally balanced diet which is needed to support bee biology.

i wouldn't be surprised the microbial diversity within the cavity (hive) is ultimately shown as being equally important as these other instances of diversity.

native trout can only survive if the water temperature and water quality are just right.

it appears as though the bees do best with the least amount of intervention. i always make the joke that my beekeeping approach is trying not to mess them up anymore than possible. on the other hand i've seen that there's a lot you can do with bees to help them along and get a harvest too boot, and i'm not shy about messing with 'em.
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