A test for Africanization in imported honey bee semen

The University of Sydney

  • Project code: PRJ-007774

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Project completion date: Saturday, April 30, 2016

  • National Priority: HBE-Improve understanding of nutrition best practice and disease interaction


The project will develop an Sequenome array that can genotype 100 bees at 100 SNP loci simultaneously. The SNPs for the array will be selected from the panel of 2000 honey bee SNPs already identified by Zayed, and new SNP to be identified in this project. From these SNPs we will choose the 100 SNP that show the greatest differences between A. m. scutellata, A. m. mellifera and A. m. carnica bees based on 10 reference bees from each population.

Having selected the most diagnostic SNP, an array of the 100 SNP will be created at the Australian Genomic Research Facility in Brisbane.

We will then verify the utility of the array by genotyping 100 individuals from the following populations: Australian feral, Australian domestic, Africanized bees (from Texas, Arizona and California) and Sao Paulo Brazil, African bees from South Africa, Cape bees from South Africa, a panel of bees from Europe.

We will verify that the array can be used with DNA extracted from semen. (Note: we have already been successful at whole genome sequencing from semen).

We will develop a statistical protocol that can be used on imported queens and semen. First, we will develop appropriate statistics so that the error rate can be confidently quantified. That is, we will provide a probability that a sample could be erroniuosly identified as non-Africanized when in fact it is Africanized, or erroniously identified as Africanized when it is not Africanized.
We will then consult with the Australian Queen Breeders Association and Biosecurity Australia to develop a set of principles for importation that provides an appropriate level of security.


Honey Bee

Research Organisation

The University of Sydney

Objective Summary

1) To develop a set of 100 SNP markers that are diagnostic of A. m. scutellata and A. m. capensis and distinguish these two subspecies from commercial and feral populations present in the US and Australia.
2) To develop a genotyping platform that can evaluate the 96 loci at low cost for a single import, including semen.
3) To establish a testing procedure that is acceptable to Biosecurity Australia and the beekeeping industry in terms of cost and security that will allow importations of queen bees and bee semen.
3) To establish a testing procedure that is acceptable in terms of cost and security.