Free access
Volume 38, Number 2, March-April 2007
Page(s) 207 - 217
Published online 08 March 2007
Apidologie 38 (2007) 207-217
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2006073

Genetic characterization of Italian honeybees, Apis mellifera ligustica, based on microsatellite DNA polymorphisms

Raffaele Dall'Olioa, Alberto Marinoa, Marco Lodesania and Robin F.A Moritzb

a  Istituto Nazionale di Apicoltura, via di Saliceto, 80 40128 Bologna, Italia
b  Institut für Zoologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Hoher Weg 4, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany

(Received 7 June 2006 - Accepted 15 September 2006 - Published online 8 March 2007)

Abstract - The genetic variability of Apis mellifera ligustica was screened throughout the Italian peninsula and Sardinia with eight polymorphic microsatellite loci. Samples of Apis mellifera mellifera, Apis mellifera carnica and from the Buckfast breeding line were genotyped for comparison. Low Fis and Fst values suggest the absence of genetic structure within and among A. m. ligustica populations, although the high number of alleles detected and heterozygosity. Phylogenetic and individual analyses confirmed that A. m. ligustica has come to resemble one large population, probably as a result of intensive beekeeping practices such as migratory beekeeping and large-scale commercial queen trading. Since the introgression of foreign alleles into both endemic natural and commercial A. m. ligustica populations, can be detected and monitored by microsatellite analysis, the results provide a reference data set for future local biodiversity conservation and other controlled breeding programs.

Key words: Apis mellifera ligustica / microsatellite / genetic variability / conservation

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© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2007