Free Access
Volume 30, Number 6, 1999
Page(s) 505 - 512
Apidologie 30 (1999) 505-512
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19990605

Using DNA microsatellites for maternity testing in honeybees (Apis mellifera L.)

Peter Neumanna, b, Robin F.A. Moritza and Dietrich Mautzc

a  Institut für Zoologie, Molekulare Ökologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Kröllwitzerstr. 44, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany
b  Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
c  Bayerische Landesanstalt für Bienenzucht, Burgbergstr. 70, 91054 Erlangen, Germany

Abstract - Performance testing in honeybees relies on comparing colony traits of commercial interest in a 1- or 2-year test period. Groups of sister colonies are tested to determine breeding values and the procedure is gravely distorted if unrelated queens are included in the sister groups. Maternity was verified in nine sister queen groups from a routine performance test. Individual workers (n = 40) were taken from 36 queenright colonies and genotyped using four DNA microsatellites. Queen genotypes were derived from the worker offspring. The consistency of maternity of the sister queen groups was evaluated using the number of alleles per locus and the putative mother queen genotypes. One group unambiguously included non-sister queens. In our tested population, the probability of not detecting unrelated queens ranged from < 0.001 up to 0.005 depending on the putative mother queen genotype. In light of the high costs and labour of testing colony traits, we recommend including maternity testing into the routine procedure of honeybee performance testing. © Inra/DIB/AGIB/Elsevier, Paris

Key words: Apis mellifera / DNA microsatellite / performance testing / queen rearing / maternity testing / sister queen