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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Evaluation of Suppressed Mite Reproduction (SMR) Reveals Potential for Varroa Resistance in European Honey Bees (Apis melliferaL.)

Mondet, Fanny; Parejo, Melanie; Meixner, Marina D.; Costa, Cecilia; Kryger, Per; Andonov, Sreten; Servin, Bertrand; Basso, Benjamin; Bienkowska, Malgorzata; Bigio, Gianluigi; Cauia, Eliza; Cebotari, Valentina; Dahle, Bjorn; Drazic, Marica Maja; Hatjina, Fani; Kovacic, Marin; Kretavicius, Justinas; Lima, Ana S.; Panasiuk, Beata; Pinto, M. Alice;
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Abstract

Simple Summary The miteVarroa destructorrepresents a great threat to honey bees and the beekeeping industry. The opportunity to select and breed honey bees that are naturally able to fight the mite stands a sustainable solution. This can be achieved by evaluation of the failure of mite reproduction (SMR, suppressed mite reproduction). We conducted a large European experiment to assess the SMR trait in different populations of honey bees spread over 13 different countries, and representing different honey bee populations. The first goal was to standardize and validate the SMR evaluation method, and then to compare the SMR trait between the different populations. Our results indicate that it is necessary to examine at least 35 brood cells infested by a single mite to reliably estimate the SMR score of any given colony. Several colonies from our dataset display high SMR scores, indicating that this trait is present within the European honey bee populations. No major differences could be identified between countries for a given population, or between populations in different countries. This study shows the potential to increase selection efforts to breedV. destructorhoney bee resistant populations. In the fight against theVarroa destructormite, selective breeding of honey bee (Apis melliferaL.) populations that are resistant to the parasitic mite stands as a sustainable solution. Selection initiatives indicate that using the suppressed mite reproduction (SMR) trait as a selection criterion is a suitable tool to breed such resistant bee populations. We conducted a large European experiment to evaluate the SMR trait in different populations of honey bees spread over 13 different countries, and representing different honey bee genotypes with their local mite parasites. The first goal was to standardize and validate the SMR evaluation method, and then to compare the SMR trait between the different populations. Simulation results indicate that it is necessary to examine at least 35 single-infested cells to reliably estimate the SMR score of any given colony. Several colonies from our dataset display high SMR scores indicating that this trait is present within the European honey bee populations. The trait is highly variable between colonies and some countries, but no major differences could be identified between countries for a given genotype, or between genotypes in different countries. This study shows the potential to increase selective breeding efforts ofV. destructorresistant populations.

Keywords

varroa; honey bee; SMR (suppressed mite reproduction); breeding; selection; resistance

Published in

Insects
2020, volume: 11, number: 9, article number: 595
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Mondet, Fanny
INRAE
Parejo, Melanie
University of Basque Country
Meixner, Marina D.
Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen (LLH)
Costa, Cecilia
Agricultural Research Council - Honey bee and Silkworm Research Unit (CRA-API), Bologna, Italy
Kryger, Per
Aarhus University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje
Servin, Bertrand
INRAE
Basso, Benjamin
ITSAP
Bienkowska, Malgorzata
Research Institute of Horticulture
Bigio, Gianluigi
Aspromiele
Căuia, Eliza
Institute for Beekeeping Research and Development
Cebotari, Valentina
Academy of Sciences of Moldova
Dahle, Bjørn
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
Drazic, Marica Maja
Minist Agr
Hatjina, Fani
DEMETER
Kovačić, Marin
Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek
Kretavicius, Justinas
National Bee Breeding Association
Lima, Ana S.
Instituto Politecnico de Braganca
Panasiuk, Beata
Research Institute of Horticulture
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UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science
Microbiology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090595

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/108697