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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Successful maintenance of a stingless bee population despite a severe genetic bottleneck

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Alves, Denise Araujo ; Imperatriz-Fonseca, Vera Lucia ; Francoy, Tiago Mauricio ; Santos-Filho, Persio Souza ; Billen, Johan ; Wenseleers, Tom
Total Authors: 6
Document type: Journal article
Source: CONSERVATION GENETICS; v. 12, n. 3, p. 647-658, JUN 2011.
Field of knowledge: Biological Sciences - Ecology
Web of Science Citations: 22

Stingless bees play an important ecological role as pollinators of many wild plant species in the tropics and have significant potential for the pollination of agricultural crops. Nevertheless, conservation efforts as well as commercial breeding programmes require better guidelines on the amount of genetic variation that is needed to maintain viable populations. In this context, we carried out a long-term genetic study on the stingless bee Melipona scutellaris to evaluate the population viability consequences of prolonged breeding from a small number of founder colonies. In particular, it was artificially imposed a genetic bottleneck by setting up a population starting from only two founder colonies, and continued breeding from it for a period of over 10 years in a location outside its natural area of occurrence. We show that despite a great reduction in the number of alleles present at both neutral microsatellite loci and the sex-determining locus relative to its natural source population, and an increased frequency in the production of sterile diploid males, the genetically impoverished population could be successfully bred and maintained for at least 10 years. This shows that in stingless bees, breeding from a small stock of colonies may have less severe consequences than previously suspected. In addition, we provide a simulation model to determine the number of colonies that are needed to maintain a certain number of sex alleles in a population, thereby providing useful guidelines for stingless bee breeding and conservation efforts. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 05/58093-8 - Reproductive strategies in Melipona, with emphasis in small populations of Melipona scutellaris (Apidae, Meliponini)
Grantee:Denise de Araujo Alves
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
FAPESP's process: 04/15801-0 - Biodiversity and sustainable use of pollinators, with emphasis on Meliponini bees
Grantee:Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca
Support type: BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Thematic Grants