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Article

Evaluation of Suppressed Mite Reproduction (SMR) Reveals Potential for Varroa Resistance in European Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.)

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INRAE, UR 406 Abeilles et Environnement, 84914 Avignon, France
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UMT PrADE, 84914 Avignon, France
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Agroscope, Swiss Bee Research Center, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
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Laboratory of Genetics, University of the Basque Country, 48940 Leioa, Spain
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LLH Bee Institute, 35274 Kirchhain, Germany
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CREA Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, 40141 Bologna, Italy
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Department Agroecology, Aarhus University, 4200 Slagelse, Denmark
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Departement of Animal Biotechnology, FZNH, 1000 Skopje, North Macedonia
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Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, SLU, 99104 Uppsala, Sweden
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INRAE, GenPhySE, 31326 Castanet-Tolosan, France
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ITSAP, 75012 Paris, France
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Research Institute of Horticulture, 96–100 Skierniewice, Poland
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Aspromiele, Regional Association of Honey Producers, 15121 Alessandria, Italy
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Institute for Beekeeping Research and Development, 013975 Bucharest, Romania
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Institute of Zoology, Academy of Sciences of Moldova, 2028 Kishinev, Moldova
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Norwegian Beekeepers Association, 2040 Kløfta, Norway
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Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 1430 Ås, Norway
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Ministry of Agriculture, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Department of Apiculture, Institute of Animal Science—Hellenic Agricultural Organization ‘DEMETER’, 63200 Nea Moudania, Greece
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Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences Osijek, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, 31000 Osijek, Croatia
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National Bee Breeding Association, Virsuliskiu g 33, 05105 Vilnius, Lithuania
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Centro de Investigação de Montanha, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 5300-253 Bragança, Portugal
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CESAM-Ciências, Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
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Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, 1000 Skopje, North Macedonia
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Apiculture Division, Faculty of Animal Bioengineering, Warmia and Mazury University in Olsztyn, Sloneczna 48, 10-957 Olsztyn, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(9), 595; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090595
Received: 10 July 2020 / Revised: 25 August 2020 / Accepted: 27 August 2020 / Published: 3 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honeybee Breeding)
The mite Varroa destructor represents a great threat to honey bees and the beekeeping industry. The opportunity to select and breed honey bees that are naturally able to fight the mite stands a sustainable solution. This can be achieved by evaluation of the failure of mite reproduction (SMR, suppressed mite reproduction). We conducted a large European experiment to assess the SMR trait in different populations of honey bees spread over 13 different countries, and representing different honey bee populations. The first goal was to standardize and validate the SMR evaluation method, and then to compare the SMR trait between the different populations. Our results indicate that it is necessary to examine at least 35 brood cells infested by a single mite to reliably estimate the SMR score of any given colony. Several colonies from our dataset display high SMR scores, indicating that this trait is present within the European honey bee populations. No major differences could be identified between countries for a given population, or between populations in different countries. This study shows the potential to increase selection efforts to breed V. destructor honey bee resistant populations.
In the fight against the Varroa destructor mite, selective breeding of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) populations that are resistant to the parasitic mite stands as a sustainable solution. Selection initiatives indicate that using the suppressed mite reproduction (SMR) trait as a selection criterion is a suitable tool to breed such resistant bee populations. We conducted a large European experiment to evaluate the SMR trait in different populations of honey bees spread over 13 different countries, and representing different honey bee genotypes with their local mite parasites. The first goal was to standardize and validate the SMR evaluation method, and then to compare the SMR trait between the different populations. Simulation results indicate that it is necessary to examine at least 35 single-infested cells to reliably estimate the SMR score of any given colony. Several colonies from our dataset display high SMR scores indicating that this trait is present within the European honey bee populations. The trait is highly variable between colonies and some countries, but no major differences could be identified between countries for a given genotype, or between genotypes in different countries. This study shows the potential to increase selective breeding efforts of V. destructor resistant populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: varroa; honey bee; SMR (suppressed mite reproduction); breeding; selection; resistance varroa; honey bee; SMR (suppressed mite reproduction); breeding; selection; resistance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mondet, F.; Parejo, M.; Meixner, M.D.; Costa, C.; Kryger, P.; Andonov, S.; Servin, B.; Basso, B.; Bieńkowska, M.; Bigio, G.; Căuia, E.; Cebotari, V.; Dahle, B.; Dražić, M.M.; Hatjina, F.; Kovačić, M.; Kretavicius, J.; Lima, A.S.; Panasiuk, B.; Pinto, M.A.; Uzunov, A.; Wilde, J.; Büchler, R. Evaluation of Suppressed Mite Reproduction (SMR) Reveals Potential for Varroa Resistance in European Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.). Insects 2020, 11, 595. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090595

AMA Style

Mondet F, Parejo M, Meixner MD, Costa C, Kryger P, Andonov S, Servin B, Basso B, Bieńkowska M, Bigio G, Căuia E, Cebotari V, Dahle B, Dražić MM, Hatjina F, Kovačić M, Kretavicius J, Lima AS, Panasiuk B, Pinto MA, Uzunov A, Wilde J, Büchler R. Evaluation of Suppressed Mite Reproduction (SMR) Reveals Potential for Varroa Resistance in European Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.). Insects. 2020; 11(9):595. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090595

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mondet, Fanny, Melanie Parejo, Marina D. Meixner, Cecilia Costa, Per Kryger, Sreten Andonov, Bertrand Servin, Benjamin Basso, Małgorzata Bieńkowska, Gianluigi Bigio, Eliza Căuia, Valentina Cebotari, Bjorn Dahle, Marica M. Dražić, Fani Hatjina, Marin Kovačić, Justinas Kretavicius, Ana S. Lima, Beata Panasiuk, M. A. Pinto, Aleksandar Uzunov, Jerzy Wilde, and Ralph Büchler. 2020. "Evaluation of Suppressed Mite Reproduction (SMR) Reveals Potential for Varroa Resistance in European Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.)" Insects 11, no. 9: 595. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090595

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