New Approach to the Mitotype Classification in Black Honeybee
Apis mellifera mellifera and Iberian Honeybee Apis mellifera iberiensis
R. A. Ilyasova, A. V. Poskryakova, A. V. Petukhovb, and A. G. Nikolenkoa
Abstract—The black honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera L. is today the only subspecies of honeybee which is
suitable for commercial breeding in the climatic conditions of Northern Europe with long cold winters. The
main problem of the black honeybee in Russia and European countries is the preservation of the indigenous gene pool purity, which is lost as a result of hybridization with subspecies, A. m. caucasica, A. m. carnica, A. m. carpatica, and A. m. armeniaca, introduced from southern regions. Genetic identification of the subspecies will reduce the extent of hybridization and provide the gene pool conservation of the black honeybee. Modern classification of the honeybee mitotypes is mainly based on the combined use of the DraI restriction endonuclease recognition site polymorphism and sequence polymorphism of the mtDNA COI–COII region. We performed a comparative analysis of the mtDNA COI–COII region sequence polymorphism in the honey bees of the evolutionary lineage M from Ural and West European populations of black honeybee A. m. mellifera and Spanish bee A. m. iberiensis. A new approach to the classification of the honeybee M mitotypes was suggested. Using this approach and on the basis of the seven most informative SNPs of the mtDNA COI–COII region, eight honeybee mitotype groups were identified. In addition, it is suggested that this approach will simplify the previously proposed complicated mitotype classification and will make it possible to assess the level of the mitotype diversity and to identify the mitotypes that are the most valuable for the honeybee breeding and rearing.