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Genetic Parameters of Honey Bee Colonies Traits in a Canadian Selection Program.

Authors
  • Maucourt, Ségolène1
  • Fortin, Frédéric2
  • Robert, Claude3
  • Giovenazzo, Pierre1
  • 1 Department of Biology, Vachon Pavillon, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 2 Centre de Développement du porc du Québec, 450-2590 Boulevard Laurier, Québec, QC G1V 4M6, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 3 Department of Animal Science, Institut sur la Nutrition et les Aliments Fonctionnels, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada. , (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Insects
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2020
Volume
11
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/insects11090587
PMID: 32882855
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Genetic selection has led to spectacular advances in animal production in many domestic species. However, it is still little applied to honey bees (Apis mellifera), whose complex genetic and reproductive characteristics are a challenge to model statistically. Advances in informatics now enable creation of a statistical model consistent with honey bee genetics, and, consequently, genetic selection for this species. The aim of this project was to determine the genetic parameters of several traits important for Canadian beekeepers with a view to establishing a breeding program in a northern context. Our results show that the five traits measured (Varroa destructor infestation, spring development, honey production, winter consumption, and hygienic behavior) are heritable. Thus, the rate of V. destructor infestation has a high heritability (h2 = 0.44 ± 0.56), spring development and honey production have a medium heritability (respectively, h2 = 0.30 ± 0.14 and h2 = 0.20 ± 0.13), and winter consumption and hygienic behavior have a low heritability (respectively, h2 = 0.11 ± 0.09 and h2 = 0.18 ± 0.13). Furthermore, the genetic correlations between these traits are all positive or null, except between hygienic behavior and V. destructor infestation level. These genetic parameters will be instrumental to the development of a selection index that will be used to improve the capacity of honey bees to thrive in northern conditions.

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