Further Evidence of Population Admixture in the Serbian Honey Bee Population

Insects. 2022 Feb 9;13(2):180. doi: 10.3390/insects13020180.


Socioeconomic interests and beekeeper preferences have often taken precedence over the conservation of locally native honey bee subspecies, leading to the predominance of admixture populations in human-dominated areas. To assess the genetic diversity of contemporary managed Serbian honey bee colonies, we used 14 microsatellite loci and analyzed 237 worker bees from 46 apiaries in eight localities of northern and southern Serbia. Furthermore, we compared data for nine microsatellite loci with 338 individuals from Italy, Hungary, Poland, and Spain. The standard parameters of genetic diversity in Serbian honey bee populations were in line with other analyses, although somewhat smaller. STRUCTURE analysis showed the existence of two equally distributed genetic clusters and Analysis of molecular variances could not confirm the presence of a geographically discrete population but showed local differences. Discriminant analysis of principal components showed overlapping of worker bees from different parts of Serbia. Clear genetic differentiation can be observed when comparing all populations between geographical regions and their corresponding subspecies. The absence of the A. m. macedonica subspecies from its historical distribution range in southern Serbia as well as the lack of distinctive geographical groups suggest that selective breeding, queen import, and migratory beekeeping practices strongly influence the genetic structure and diversity of honey bees, leading to the genetic uniformization and creation of the admixture population.

Keywords: genetic diversity; honey bee; microsatellite; population genetics.