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Article

Mitochondrial DNA Suggests the Introduction of Honeybees of African Ancestry to East-Central Europe

1
Department of Genetics, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Kazimierz Wielki University, Powstańców Wielkopolskich 10, 85-090 Bydgoszcz, Poland
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Centre for Agricultural Genomics and Biotechnology, University of Debrecen, 4032 Debrecen, Hungary
3
Department of Zoology and Animal Welfare, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Adama Mickiewicza 24/28, 30-059 Kraków, Poland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: M. Alice Pinto
Insects 2021, 12(5), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050410
Received: 24 March 2021 / Revised: 28 April 2021 / Accepted: 30 April 2021 / Published: 2 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Ecology, Diversity and Conservation)
In Europe, a well-known threat to the conservation of honeybee diversity is the loss of genetic uniqueness of local populations due to beekeepers’ preference for a few genetic lineages. However, due to climate change and large-scale ongoing movement of breeding individuals, the expansion of bees of African origin could represent another threat. This issue has not yet been recognised in detail, although bees bearing African mitochondrial DNA occur in South-West and South Europe due to natural gene flow. Here, we determine the diversity of mitochondrial DNA in honey bees from East-Central Europe. We sequenced the COI-COII region in 427 bees sampled along two 900 km transects (17.5° N and 23° E). We found that 1.64% of bees (95% CI: 0.66–3.35%) had African mitochondrial DNA. It is unlikely that their presence in the area resulted from natural migration but instead human-driven introductions of hybrids of African ancestry. This expansion deserves more attention, as it may contribute to the dissemination of undesirable traits, parasites and diseases.
In Europe, protecting the genetic diversity of Apis mellifera is usually perceived in the context of limiting the spread of the evolutionary C-lineage within the original range of the M-lineage. However, due to climate change and large-scale ongoing movement of breeding individuals, the expansion of bees from the African A-lineage could represent another threat. This issue has not yet been investigated in detail, although A-mitotypes occur in South-West and South Europe due to natural gene flow. Here, we determine the diversity of mtDNA in honey bees from East-Central Europe. We sequenced the COI-COII region in 427 bees sampled along two 900 km transects (17.5° N and 23° E). We found that 1.64% of bees (95% CI: 0.66–3.35 %) had A-mitotypes. It is unlikely that their presence in the area resulted from natural migration but instead human driven introductions of hybrids of African ancestry. This expansion deserves more attention, as it may contribute to the dissemination of undesirable traits, parasites and diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: COI-COII intergenic region; hybridisation; African haplotypes; Europe COI-COII intergenic region; hybridisation; African haplotypes; Europe
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MDPI and ACS Style

Oleksa, A.; Kusza, S.; Tofilski, A. Mitochondrial DNA Suggests the Introduction of Honeybees of African Ancestry to East-Central Europe. Insects 2021, 12, 410. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050410

AMA Style

Oleksa A, Kusza S, Tofilski A. Mitochondrial DNA Suggests the Introduction of Honeybees of African Ancestry to East-Central Europe. Insects. 2021; 12(5):410. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050410

Chicago/Turabian Style

Oleksa, Andrzej, Szilvia Kusza, and Adam Tofilski. 2021. "Mitochondrial DNA Suggests the Introduction of Honeybees of African Ancestry to East-Central Europe" Insects 12, no. 5: 410. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050410

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