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Volume 38, Number 1, January-February 2007
Page(s) 77 - 85
Published online 15 December 2006
Apidologie 38 (2007) 77-85
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2006050

Genetic evaluation in the honey bee considering queen and worker effects - A BLUP-Animal Model approach

Kaspar Bienefelda, Klaus Ehrhardta and Friedrich Reinhardtb

a  lnstitute of Bee Research, Friedrich Engels Str. 32, 16540 Hohen Neuendorf, Germany
b  Ostpreußenweg 8, 27308 Kirchlinteln, Germany

(Received 18 August 2005 - Accepted 16 June 2006 - Published online 15 December 2006)

Abstract - The estimation of breeding value for the honey bee is markedly more difficult than for other agricultural animals as colony traits in honey bees are the expression of the combined activities of the queen and workers. Recent studies have shown strong negative genetic correlations between the contributions of both queens and workers to economically important traits (e.g. honey production). The most advantageous method currently available for evaluating breeding values in other animals, the Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP)-Animal Model, has been adapted to the peculiarities of honey bee genetics and reproduction. This method considers maternal (queen) effects using all available records of relatives and weights these so as to obtain the most accurate prediction of the genotype. It simultaneously considers environmental effects, genetic merit of mates and contemporarily tested colonies, and estimates the breeding values for queen and worker effects on colony traits for each queen.

Key words: Apis mellifera / breeding value / genetic response / honey production / maternal effects / BLUP-Animal Model

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© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2007