Genetic diversity of the honeybee in Africa: microsatellite and mitochondrial data

A total of 738 colonies from 64 localities along the African continent have been analysed using theDraI RFLP of the COI±COII mitochondrial region. Mitochondrial DNA of African honeybeesappears to be composed of three highly divergent lineages. The African lineage previously reported(named A) is present in almost all the localities except those from north-eastern Africa. In this area,two newly described lineages (called O and Y), putatively originating from the Near East, areobserved in high proportion. This suggests an important di€erentiation of Ethiopian and Egyptianhoneybees from those of other African areas. The A lineage is also present in high proportion inpopulations from the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily. Furthermore, eight populations from Morocco,Guinea, Malawi and South Africa have been assayed with six microsatellite loci and compared to a setof eight additional populations from Europe and the Middle East. The African populations displayhigher genetic variability than European populations at all microsatellite loci studied thus far. Thissuggests that African populations have larger e€ective sizes than European ones. According to theirmicrosatellite allele frequencies, the eight African populations cluster together, but are divided in twosubgroups. These are the populations from Morocco and those from the other African countries. Thepopulations from southern Europe show very low levels of `Africanization’ at nuclear microsatelliteloci. Because nuclear and mitochondrial DNA often display discordant patterns of di€erentiation inthe honeybee, the use of both kinds of markers is preferable when assessing the phylogeography ofApis melliferaand to determine the taxonomic status of the subspecies.

P Franck, L Garnery, A Loiseau, B P Oldroyd, H R Hepburn, M Solignac & J -M Cornuet

Artículo completo: Genetic diversity of the honeybee in Africa: microsatellite and mitochondrial data.

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