Research Article

Selection and estimation of the heritability of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) pollen collection behavior in Apis mellifera colonies

Published: June 20, 2007
Genet. Mol. Res. 6 (2) : 374-381

Abstract

We selected honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera L.) with a high tendency to collect sunflower pollen and estimated the heritability of this trait. The percentage of sunflower pollen collected by 74 colonies was evaluated. Five colonies that collected the highest percentages of sunflower pollen were selected. Nineteen colonies headed by daughters of these selected queens were evaluated for this characteristic in comparison with 20 control (unselected) colonies. The variation for the proportion of sunflower pollen was greater among colonies of the control group than among these selected daughter colonies. The estimated heritability was 0.26 ± 0.23, demonstrating that selection to increase sunflower pollen collection is feasible. Such selected colonies could be used to improve sunflower pollination in commercial fields.

We selected honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera L.) with a high tendency to collect sunflower pollen and estimated the heritability of this trait. The percentage of sunflower pollen collected by 74 colonies was evaluated. Five colonies that collected the highest percentages of sunflower pollen were selected. Nineteen colonies headed by daughters of these selected queens were evaluated for this characteristic in comparison with 20 control (unselected) colonies. The variation for the proportion of sunflower pollen was greater among colonies of the control group than among these selected daughter colonies. The estimated heritability was 0.26 ± 0.23, demonstrating that selection to increase sunflower pollen collection is feasible. Such selected colonies could be used to improve sunflower pollination in commercial fields.

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