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Volume 25, Number 2, 1994
F. Ruttner 80th birthday
Page(s) 169 - 178
Apidologie 25 (1994) 169-178
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19940205

Mitochondrial DNA variability in South African honeybees (Apis mellifera L)

R.F.A. Moritza, J.M. Cornuetb, P. Krygera, L. Garneryb and H.R. Hepburnc

a  Institut für Biologie, Technische Universität Berlin, Franklinstr 28/29, 10587 Berlin, Germany
b  Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Comparée des Invertébrés, INRA/CNRS, BP 23, 91440 Bures-sur-Yvette, France
c  Dept Entomology and Zoology, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

Abstract - The mtDNA size variability of honeybees (Apis mellifera) in a sample of 102 colonies covering the area south of the 27th parallel of latitude in Africa was analyzed using PCR. A region between the CO I and CO II genes revealed four different size variants one of which being a novel mitotype for honeybees not fitting the previously published repeat pattern in the region (a fragment PO with 69 bp and varying number of fragment Q of 196 bp length). This region, which has been shown to be useful for the biogeographic classification of Apis mellifera subspecies, only partially corresponded to the known distribution of African subspecies of honeybees based on morphometrical and physiological data. The P OQQ-type was the most common with an overall frequency of 0.76. The region which has been addressed as the hybrid zone between A m capensis and A m scutellata showed no mitotype variability and was monomorphic for the POQQ type. A considerable length polymorphism was found north and east of this region with a frequency of 0.57 for POQQ type and 0.36 for the P OQ type. Less common were the POQQQ type (0.02) and a type not fitting the known P and Q repeat system (0.02). Digestion of the region with the Dral restriction enzyme revealed previously undetected mtDNA variability in Apis mellifera populations.

Key words: Apis mellifera scutellata / Apis mellifera capensis / mtDNA / polymorphism