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I think you misunderstand me - I'm just pointing out that the act of bees being on their own may change them somehow even if they possess the same genes as the one in the apiary down the street.
I’m just joking around a bit, Epigenetics is well known phenomenon, Pigs are a great example. I’m not convinced bees are as extreme but I’m wrong all the time !
 

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That’s the term I was looking for!
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
So the genetics are the same, even the same pig after a number of years after being set wild (or feral) will begin to develop these characteristics.
LBussy:

In my humble opinion you are asking the right questions and they touch on the whole genotype/phenotype nexus- how two populations can have a similar genetic make-up but the expression of those genetics is different based on the environment and associated selection pressures placed upon it.
 

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the whole genotype/phenotype nexus
That is the hard thing to get a handle on in a breeding program, especially in the context of the the majority of beekeepers operations. The G x E interaction can cause very different behaviors, survivability or productivity with the same genetics as it responds to different environments. Epigenetics is not necessarily a part of this. The points raised about Prof Seeley's work are valid, the area is small, the opportunity for outside genetics to influence the population is high and he has never tried to hide that. Like most of us he works with what is available, he reports his findings without exaggerated claims. We have to make judgements on their applicability. I watched a talk he gave to a British bee group where he analysed samples of the forest populations before and after varroa and found, from memory, around 280 different alleles between the two time periods. Are these the result of genetic drift in the population or introduction from outside. I have no idea although I did find it interesting that many of the changes were in genes involved with reproduction and development, that is the stages affected by the mite. It is at least plausible that some of these changes were the result of the new selection pressure acting on the wild population.

In another piece of work he demonstrated that the ability of colonies to control mite infestation was strongly impacted by the distance between colonies. A hive which could survive in isolation was more likely to be overwhelmed if placed in close proximity to another.

The point to this is that, even if wild hives are developing resistance alleles which are being selected for by the varroa, there is no guarantee that these populations will be of any use in a beekeeping situation. The strategies used by the wild populations may be rendered ineffective by the radical change in environment. Bringing feral swarms into production may not help and allowing populations, selected to perform in production, to flood wild populations with drones may not be doing either population a favour.

Now that is a perhaps a little bleak but it seems that the questions have to be asked, the data has to be gathered.

Sel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
The point to this is that, even if wild hives are developing resistance alleles which are being selected for by the varroa, there is no guarantee that these populations will be of any use in a beekeeping situation. The strategies used by the wild populations may be rendered ineffective by the radical change in environment. Bringing feral swarms into production may not help and allowing populations, selected to perform in production, to flood wild populations with drones may not be doing either population a favour.
Nice write-up, sparkyApis. Good points.
 

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Has any of you folks studied what went on in Puerto Rico with their treatment free situation and selecting for gentle Scutelata?...(not to open a whole new can of worms)
 

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Has any of you folks studied what went on in Puerto Rico with their treatment free situation and selecting for gentle Scutelata?...(not to open a whole new can of worms)
 
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