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Genetics. 1995 Jun;140(2):679-95.

Microsatellite variation in honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) populations: hierarchical genetic structure and test of the infinite allele and stepwise mutation models.

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Laboratoire de Populations, Génétique et Evolution, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


Samples from nine populations belonging to three African (intermissa, scutellata and capensis) and four European (mellifera, ligustica, carnica and cecropia) Apis mellifera subspecies were scored for seven microsatellite loci. A large amount of genetic variation (between seven and 30 alleles per locus) was detected. Average heterozygosity and average number of alleles were significantly higher in African than in European subspecies, in agreement with larger effective population sizes in Africa. Microsatellite analyses confirmed that A. mellifera evolved in three distinct and deeply differentiated lineages previously detected by morphological and mitochondrial DNA studies. Dendrogram analysis of workers from a given population indicated that super-sisters cluster together when using a sufficient number of microsatellite data whereas half-sisters do not. An index of classification was derived to summarize the clustering of different taxonomic levels in large phylogenetic trees based on individual genotypes. Finally, individual population x loci data were used to test the adequacy of the two alternative mutation models, the infinite allele model (IAM) and the stepwise mutation models. The better fit overall of the IAM probably results from the majority of the microsatellites used including repeats of two or three different length motifs (compound microsatellites).

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