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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Multiple Mating But Not Recombination Causes Quantitative Increase in Offspring Genetic Diversity for Varying Genetic Architectures
Experimental studies that compared genetically diverse colonies produced by multiply-mated queens to genetically more homogeneous colonies that were produced by single-mated queens of the Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera L) demonstrated that genetically diverse colonies were better at resisting bacterial disease [12] and less prone to severe fungal infestations [13]. Similarly, high genetic diversity in experimental honey bee colonies improves their homeostasis [14], communication, foraging, and general colony success [15], [16].
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0047220
Not really new news, just substantiates that 90 years of genetic isolation and line breeding has our American bees inbred and sick.
 

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I am sure that over the years at least some new genetic material has been added to the u.s. gene pool.
there is bound to to have been some smuggling. That said we have probably not had enough out breeding to strenthen our bee populations. Maybe the African problem will eventually turn out for the better. I personally have mostly Mutt (open mated) queens. So far here in st. Pete we have encountered no hot hives or any practical evidence of an african presence. According to the last news letter from the state there have been over 1800 genetic samples submited for testing that have african genetics. I hope that by keeping strong managed hives with lots of bee keepers spread around that we will keep the gene pool flooded with enough european genetics that the african influence will be moderate and beneficial rather than a problem.
I would like to hear from keepers in texas how they are doing with the african genetics
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The honey bee genome project only reported 39 matrial lines in the United States. If Americans only had 39 moms and our life cycle was 6 months rather than 70 years, we would all be walking around goofy looking, dumb as rocks, and sick all the time.
Kelly has done more than 1800 samples, and I cannot question what we published, but I do have the numbers at work. If they come up AHB in FABIS Kelly has to run USDA-ID, If they come up positive in USDA-ID Kelly has to send them for DNA. Not many have been USDA-ID and DNA count is less than the supers on my hives now. At least since June when I started most are EHB, even where you would expect AHB. The exception is where beekeeping was prohibited or restricted. In South Florida regulation has allowed the Africanized population to run rampant.
 

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I am sure that over the years at least some new genetic material has been added to the u.s. gene pool.
there is bound to to have been some smuggling.
Is smuggling really required? Can't you import queens from Europe where (I assume) the genetics are much more diverse?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The United States banned all importation of honey bees in 1922. There have been frozen sperm imported legally. There are a few bees that were smuggled in. The conditions are not quite as healthy when you have to hide them for a long journey. The first set of bees Kerr brought to Brazil died, or Bro. Adam to Buckfast. Even a short delay at customs (which means days or weeks sometimes), or rough handling can adversely change the breeding ability.
That is the beauty of the Buckfast breeding program. By traveling to several continents and geographic regions, even bringing the same stock that had been inbred for years in America or England had a dramatic positive effect with genetic heterosis.
 

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The United States banned all importation of honey bees in 1922. There have been frozen sperm imported legally. There are a few bees that were smuggled in.
Wow, that's amazing. What was the reason for that? It doesn't seem healthy at all.

There goes my idea of starting an European queen export business... :)
 

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What about Canada and mexico are they as restrictive? How would you rate the introduction of the african gene pool? Also from what I understand Brazil was the country that accidently released the African bees.
How diverse was the gene pool from that release. Was it only a few queens that started this?
 

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What about Canada and mexico are they as restrictive? How would you rate the introduction of the african gene pool? Also from what I understand Brazil was the country that accidently released the African bees.
How diverse was the gene pool from that release. Was it only a few queens that started this?
i think that was a special case, because those bees had the ability to take over existing colonies, insert their genetics, thereby making the gene pool less diverse. yes, just a few queens.
 

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It seems like with limited genetics here in the USA there would be lots motivating people to smuggle in different lines. I would think pre-9/11 it wouldn't have been to hard to smuggle them in. Even now driving across the Canadian Border with queens wouldn't be that big of a deal. I would guess that many people tried to indroduce new genetics.
I guess the question that remains is why wherent they successful? Where the "few" that where brought in not that different genetically? Where the new indroduced genetics not successful?
 

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seems like an area with a lot of feral hives would have a lot of genetic diversity.

plus, they would delevop resistance naturally over time .

maybe the better approach would be to look to the wild bees for that diversity.
 

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Not really new news, just substantiates that 90 years of genetic isolation and line breeding has our American bees inbred and sick.
Uh, yeah.

Line breeding is hard to do for more then a few generations in honey bees
because of the compounding effect of homogeneity in the sex allele loci
has on phenotype. True line breeding would make offspring's patterns really
poor, really quickly.

There are really quite a few combinations one can select for out there in
the general honey bee population if one takes their time and actually tests
for combining ability with some of the various strains: one can come up with some
pretty nice bees that are neither genetically isolated nor sick.

The response to reports that diversity in breeding negatively impacts
offspring stimulates conjecture about "new blood" or importing new
germplasm. What would make that "new" germplasm any better than what's
already here? Wouldn't the same selection pressures that are making the US
bee population "inbred and sick" have have been applied to the "new blood"
by other queen producers in other areas?

There's plenty of good breeding stock in the US breeding population.
Queen rearers need to make an effort to use quality breeding stock and to work
with people who are breeding queens in a breeding program. There is a
difference between queen production and queen breeding.

You'd be amazed at how many people outside the USA, who breed queens, want
some of our American honey bee germplasm.


Adam Finkelstein
www.vpqueenbees.com
 

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seems like an area with a lot of feral hives would have a lot of genetic diversity.

plus, they would delevop resistance naturally over time .

maybe the better approach would be to look to the wild bees for that diversity.
Aren't all the hives in the US ultimately the result of imports? If you don't import bees from anywhere else there's only so much diversity even in the feral population.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sadly there were over 300 matrial lines in feral populations before the introduction of Varroa, Small Hive Beetles, Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, Kashmir Bee Virus, Deformed Wing Virus, and several others.
The other issue is that feral colonies were actually managed colonies, many less than a year old from the time they are discovered. Bees swarm and re-use the same cavities.
Adam, the new germplasm would have to be from a different matrial line, and when it is the genetic depression is removed which causes susceptiblilty to disease, reduced learning behaviors, etc. That was the point in bringing in Carniolan and other stocks from the original regions.
Thank you for pointing out the difference between breeding and rearing. I doubt may new beekeepers know there is a difference.
Bro. Adam and good breeders run parallel lines to reduce or prevent inbreeding. Good queen rearers replace the breeder queens annually to include the same diversity the breeder works for.
 

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The United States banned all importation of honey bees in 1922. There have been frozen sperm imported legally. There are a few bees that were smuggled in. The conditions are not quite as healthy when you have to hide them for a long journey. The first set of bees Kerr brought to Brazil died, or Bro. Adam to Buckfast. Even a short delay at customs (which means days or weeks sometimes), or rough handling can adversely change the breeding ability.
That is the beauty of the Buckfast breeding program. By traveling to several continents and geographic regions, even bringing the same stock that had been inbred for years in America or England had a dramatic positive effect with genetic heterosis.
In recent years there have been several importations including Russians, Australians, and most recently several lines of germplasm brought in by Sue Cobey and Dr Shepard that included Caucasians and several other old world lines.
 

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Adam, the new germplasm would have to be from a different matrial line, and when it is the genetic depression is removed which causes susceptiblilty to disease, reduced learning behaviors, etc. That was the point in bringing in Carniolan and other stocks from the original regions.Thank you for pointing out the difference between breeding and rearing. I doubt may new beekeepers know there is a difference.
Bro. Adam and good breeders run parallel lines to reduce or prevent inbreeding. Good queen rearers replace the breeder queens annually to include the same diversity the breeder works for.
Hi ABeekeeper,
mtDNA doesn't have any bearing in sexual reproduction.
It is a way to measure populations' change and dissemination but doesn't influence diversity in breeding populations.

Combinations of expression in Genomic DNA is what breeders are selecting from.
That's the genotype recombining through sexual reproduction to make the phenotype.

Adam Finkelstein
www.vpqueenbees.com
 

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In recent years there have been several importations including Russians, Australians, and most recently several lines of germplasm brought in by Sue Cobey and Dr Shepard that included Caucasians and several other old world lines.
Hi John, good point.

There's tons of selection going on within the population too. The potential for desirable combinations within the population is there: the sheer magnitude of the combinations, and winnowing away the undesirable ones, is what selection in breeding is all about.

Adam Finkelstein
www.vpqueenbees.com
 

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wow, did we stir up a whirlwind here.
first, when we work with bees it is impossible to be sure of the genetics of our bees with out testing. Even the biggest queen breeders have the potential for some random drone inseminating their virgin queen unless they use artificial insemination. second canada and mexico are less restrictive on imports so since there is no physical barrier to keep bees out there must have been a lot of cross the border activity. I don't see genetic diversity or the lack of as a total disaster. Bees can survive and learn to handle exotic diseases, The problem seems to be that we are throwing too many problems at them at once. Bees already seem to be developing ways of dealing with hive beetles and varoa, they are handling loss of nesting areas by changing where they make hives (in one old neighbor hood with huge oak trees I counted over twenty feral colonies built in the open ) and bees even seem to be developing resistance to some insecticides. The problem is we are making too many changes to fast. We need to do every thing we can to keep the bees ahead of the curve.
get the artificial nicotines banned or restricted, Require more stringent testing of all chemicals, make bee relocation rather than destruction the public policy, encourage small time bee keeping.
Sorry I don't seem to have a finish for my rant. Save the bees
 
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