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Volume 35, Number 3, May-June 2004
Page(s) 311 - 318
Apidologie 35 (2004) 311-318
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004015

Non-lethal sampling of honey bee, Apis mellifera, DNA using wing tips

Nicolas Châlinea, Francis L.W. Ratnieksa, Nigel E. Rainea, Nichola S. Badcocka and Terry Burkeb

a   Laboratory of Apiculture & Social Insects, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
b   Molecular Ecology Laboratory, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK

(Received 6 February 2003; revised 28 July 2003; accepted 25 August 2003)

Abstract - DNA sampling of insects frequently relies upon lethal or invasive methods. Because insect colonies contain numerous workers it is often possible to destructively sample workers for genetic analysis. However, this is not possible if queens or workers must remain alive after sampling. Neither is it possible to remove an entire leg, wing or other appendage as this will often hinder normal behaviour. This study investigates the possibility of genotyping queen honey bees Apis mellifera using DNA extracted from wing tips so that flight and other activities are unaffected. Our results show that wing tip samples (c. 1.3 mm2) provide good quality DNA which gives reliable genotypes when PCR amplified (94.3% success rate). Wing tip DNA sampling will permit a variety of novel research approaches, including genotyping of queens at emergence in breeding programs where certain patrilines or genotypes are preferred, and genotyping workers and queens which must behave normally following sampling.

Key words: Apis mellifera / DNA microsatellite / non-destructive sampling / selection program / DNA extraction

Corresponding author: Nicolas Châline

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2004

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