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Mitochondrial DNA Variation of Feral Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.) from Utah (USA)

Cleary, Dylan, Szalanski, Allen L., Trammel, Clinton, Williams, Mary-Kate, Tripodi, Amber, Downey, Danielle
Journal of apicultural science 2018 v.62 no.2 pp. 223-232
Africans, Apis mellifera, cytochrome-c oxidase, feral animals, genes, genetic variation, haplotypes, honey bee colonies, honey bees, intergenic DNA, mitochondrial DNA, swarms, Brazil, Eastern European region, Texas, Utah, Western European region
A study was conducted on the mitochondrial DNA genetic diversity of feral colonies and swarms of Apis mellifera from ten counties in Utah by sequencing the intergenic region of the cytochrome oxidase (COI-COII) gene region. A total of 20 haplotypes were found from 174 honey bee colony samples collected from 2008 to 2017. Samples belonged to the A (African) (48%); C (Eastern Europe) (43%); M (Western Europe) (4%); and O (Oriental) lineages (5%). Ten African A lineage haplotypes were observed with two unique to Utah among A lineage haplotypes recorded in the US. Haplotypes belonging to the A lineage were observed from six Utah counties located in the southern portion of the State, from elevations as high as 1357 m. All five C lineage haplotypes that were found have been observed from queen breeders in the US. Three haplotypes of the M lineage (n=7) and two of the O lineage (n=9) were also observed. This study provides evidence that honey bees of African descent are both common and diverse in wild populations of honey bees in southern Utah. The high levels of genetic diversity of A lineage honey bee colonies in Utah provide evidence that the lineage may have been established in Utah before the introduction of A lineage honey bees from Brazil to Texas in 1990.