Genetic structure and distinctness of Apis mellifera L. populations from the Canary Islands

Authors

  • P. De La Rúa,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria Universidad de Murcia, Apdo. 4021, 30071 Murcia, Spain,
      Dr Pilar De la Rúa. Fax: + 34 968364147; E-mail:pdelarua@um.es
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  • J. Galián,

    1. Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria Universidad de Murcia, Apdo. 4021, 30071 Murcia, Spain,
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  • J. Serrano,

    1. Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria Universidad de Murcia, Apdo. 4021, 30071 Murcia, Spain,
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  • R. F. A. Moritz

    1. Institut für Zoologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Kröllwitzerstrasse 44, D-06099 Halle/Saale, Germany
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Dr Pilar De la Rúa. Fax: + 34 968364147; E-mail:pdelarua@um.es

Abstract

The genetic structure of Apis mellifera populations from the Canary Islands has been assessed by mitochondrial (restriction fragment length polymorphisms of the intergenic transfer RNAleu-COII region) and nuclear (microsatellites) studies. These populations show a low level of genetic variation in terms of average number of alleles and degree of heterozygosity. Significant differences in the distribution of alleles were found in both data sets, confirming the genetic differentiation among some of the islands but not within them. Two mitochondrial haplotypes characteristic of the Canary Islands are found at high frequencies, although populations are introgressed by imported honeybees of eastern European C lineage. This introgression is rather high on Tenerife and El Hierro and low on Gran Canaria and La Gomera, whereas on La Palma it has not been recorded. The finding of microsatellite alleles characteristic of the eastern European lineage corroborates the genetic introgression. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the Canarian honeybees are differentiated from other lineages and provide genetic evidence of their African origin.

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