Free Access
Volume 37, Number 6, November-December 2006
Page(s) 699 - 708
Published online 20 October 2006
Apidologie 37 (2006) 699-708
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2006044

Molecular characterization and population structure of Apis mellifera from Madeira and the Azores

Pilar de la Rúaa, José Galiána, Bo Vest Pedersenb and José Serranoa

a  Dpto. Zoología y Antropología Física, Facultad de Veterinaria, Apdo. 4021, Universidad de Murcia, 30071 Murcia, Spain
b  Department of Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

(Received 23 June 2005 - Revised 31 January 2006 - Accepted 3 March 2006 - published online 20 October 2006)

Abstract - Mitochondrial and microsatellite variation were analyzed in honeybee populations from the Madeiran and Azorean archipelagos. The most frequent mitochondrial haplotypes corresponded to the A $_{\rm III}$ subset of the African evolutionary lineage of A. mellifera. Genetic variability of these island populations was analyzed in relation to Canarian and continental (Morocco, Portugal and southern Spain) honeybee populations. Island and continental populations were genetically differentiated. Microsatellite analyses supports (i) the distinctness of the Macaronesian honeybee populations, and (ii) the close relationship between Macaronesian and NW African populations. Recent introgression events due to apicultural practices were detected, possibly changing the genetic structure of locally adapted populations.

Key words: Apis mellifera / Madeira / Azores / mtDNA / microsatellites / biogeography / population genetics

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© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2006