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Large-scale mitochondrial DNA analysis of native honey bee Apis mellifera populations reveals a new African subgroup private to the South West Indian Ocean islands

Techer M.A., Clémencet J., Simiand C., Preeaduth S., Hamza A.A., Reynaud B., Delatte H.. 2017. BMC Genetics, 18 : 21 p..

DOI: 10.1186/s12863-017-0520-8

Background: The South West Indian Ocean (SWIO) archipelagos and Madagascar constitute a hotspot of biodiversity with a high rate of endemism. In this area, the endemic subspecies A. m. unicolor has been described in Madagascar. It belongs to the African lineage, one of the four described evolutionary lineages in honey bees. Despite a long beekeeping tradition and several recorded European introductions, few studies have been carried out on the diversity and proportion of honey bee subspecies. In order to identify and define which evolutionary lineages and potential sub-lineages are present in the SWIO, the COI-COII intergenic region and the ND2 gene of the mtDNA were sequenced in honey bee colonies from three archipelagos. An extensive sampling (n = 1184 colonies) was done in the Mascarene (La Réunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues), Seychelles (Mahé, Praslin, La Digue) and Comoros (Grande Comore, Mohéli, Anjouan, Mayotte) archipelagos. Islands genetic diversity was compared to newly sampled populations from Madagascar, continental African and European populations. Results: African lineage haplotypes were found in all islands (except for Rodrigues). Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles had 100% of A lineage, 95.5% in La Réunion and 56.1% in Mauritius. Among all African colonies detected in the SWIO, 98.1% (n = 633) of COI-COII haplotypes described the presence of the subspecies A. M. unicolor. Both genetic markers revealed i) a new private AI mitochondrial group shared by the SWIO archipelagos and Madagascar distant from continental populations; ii) the private African haplotypes for each island suggested diversity radiation in the archipelagos; iii) the detection of the Comoros archipelago as a possible contact area between insular and continental African populations. The exotic European C and M lineages were only detected in the Mascarene archipelago, but striking differences of proportion were observed among islands. Merely 4.6% of European colonies were found in La Réunion whereas Mauritius cumulated 44%. Here, among the 84 observed COI-COII haplotypes, 50 were newly described including 13 which were private to the SWIO archipelagos and Madagascar. Similarly, 24 of the 34 found ND2 haplotypes were novel which included six haplotypes particular to the SWIO populations. Conclusion: A new African subgroup was described in the SWIO region with mitochondrial genetic evidence that A. m. unicolor is the indigenous subspecies of the archipelagos surrounding Madagascar.

Mots-clés : apis mellifera; génétique des populations; variation génétique; adn mitochondrial; pcr; phylogénie; provenance; marqueur génétique; organisme indigène; océan indien; afrique; seychelles; madagascar; comores; europe; séquencage; apis mellifera unicolor

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