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Author Topic: Artificial insemination vs. Natural selection?  (Read 1955 times)
dronedave22
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« on: April 21, 2011, 08:23:58 AM »

I'm a newbie and was fascinated by the different strains of bees and hybrids esp. love the cordovan coloring.  LOVE insects but never gave it a thought before of domesticated insects with pedigrees and strains, and also never knew bees could be artificially inseminated.  My question is this thou: With the domestication and breeding practices the beekeeper has utilized over the centuries hurt the bees like any other domesticated animal?  Like the dog is a good example we have shaped the dog into a wide variety of forms with specialized traits but not without it's setbacks like diseases,breathing problems bone deformities and so on.  Seems with all these deliberitley bred strains focusing on brood size,honey production,color and disease resistance have we lost something special by not letting Natural selection take place?  Just curious.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2011, 09:11:03 AM »

Narrowing the gene pool too much has led to many problems in many domestic animals and seldom improved the breed in the long term.  Selective breeding is the process of breeding out everything except one outcome.  The problem with narrow gene pools is they can't adjust to changes such as Tracheal mites or Varroa mites as you bred out the variety and  you need variety to hope to find a resistant strain.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2011, 09:20:37 AM »

German Shepards are the prime example in the dog world. You will see far less German Shepards as service dogs now because people are wanting show dogs and not breeding for working drive.

Ive had mutts that have lived forever and purebreds that were allergic to everything and short lived.

A deep, diversified gene pool, IMHO, is the key.
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BMAC
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2011, 09:24:30 AM »

I concur with both.  Mutts are best! 
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BjornBee
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2011, 10:29:08 AM »

That's all good from an end-result viewpoint.

But we still need to understand that having pure pools of bee strains allows future selection based on problems, etc.

If we all threw our bees into a genetic "pool" and all grabbed identical bees out of the same bowl, we would not have the flexibility or ability to breed from a wide range of genetics. That's the problem we have now. A large blending with the results of narrow selection from a few main bee lines. Watering them down to the same bland weak strain.

Getting a good production queen, or relying on local gentics is a good thing. But we still need focused and selected breeding programs aimed at perpetuating Italians as Italians, Russians as Russians, and so on.

If we all became or did what Brother Adam did years ago, we would be in a world of hurt. It would open up all bees to be susceptible to the same disease with tragic results.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 10:36:15 AM »

We haven't lost that something special any more than we lost something special when you compare corn to the original maize, or tomatoes to the original little red berries growing wild.  You may have a mutt as a dog, but you don't have a wolf.  Dogs were selected by us, humans.  We've since overbred some.

Bees too have been being bred for thousands of years.
We've gained a lot of special.  The original bees here were German bees...nasty black swarmy bees.  Probably we'd have a fraction of beekeepers if we still only had those.  But yeah, we probably lost some longevity there.

And it depends if you want to compare back to the original bee or just to the bees that we had a 100 years ago.  If you are just asking if they are sometimes overbred and inbred?  Yuppers, plenty of that going on too.

Then compare the bred bees to the ultimate natural bee: the africanized bees.  Yeah...there's something special!! grin

So we've had some duds, some mean bees, some weak bees, some swarmy, some runny...but overall I'd say they're pretty great!
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2011, 11:01:02 AM »


Bees too have been being bred for thousands of years.


Yeah....that may be true. But we didn't transport them all over the world mixing the breeds for thousands of years.

Now with the mixing of all the breeds, the loss of genetic material due to AHB spread, the genetic pool is doing two things:

1) Getting smaller (Just think of the feral genetic material being pushed out by AHB) We may have had great feral stock in some areas, but that gentic material is lost after being completely taken over by AHB genetics. AHBs does not allow much of anything else in genetic matter to survive.

2) Getting much more blended. And the genetic makeup of bees today is much less variant than that of the past. We know that by the allele counts.

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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2011, 11:59:50 AM »

I agree, I was just pointing out that "natural selection" has very little to do with our dog breeds or our bee breed.  Too often people confuse genetic engineering with selective breeding.

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Rick
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2011, 12:03:31 PM »

Good point.

Eventually, we will have no more poodles or Labradors...just labradoodles.  Wink
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nella
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2011, 02:47:48 PM »

Dose anyone know if there are dna records for the different breeds of bees?
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BjornBee
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2011, 03:10:13 PM »

nella,
You may want to contact Malcolm Sanford, who a few years back (if I remember correctly) was trying to get support for the GBBA, which had a goal of isolating and keeping for future use, the different strains around the world. Of course funding and support for such efforts is nonexistent until  normally too late for such notions.

Isolating pure "pockets" would allow for a multitude of breeding variations in the future to fend of future problems and disease. Unfortunately, we are not alone in mixing breeds till nothing pure exists any longer. Europe has done a wonderful job of shipping queens around also.
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wd
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2011, 09:41:30 PM »

I've understood instrumentally inseminated queens as means to introduce a selection into your existing gene pool.
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Finski
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« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2011, 12:44:59 AM »

.
Selection in nature is very different from domestication of the bee.

- defencive
- swarming (propagation)
- small colonies suitable to tree holes.

Human has spread bees to many continents where honeybees has never been

many think that beekeepers has just spoiled "the genome of bees". That claim has no basis because no one knows what is "perfect nature bee".

One mistake is to thinkd diseases that human has caused them bee diseases has been on globe when human was still an ape.

Evolution works in diseases too.  Australia has lots of feral colonies. Their nest acts as refuge of diseases. Even if beekeepers weed AFB away from their hives, bees get it from ferals.

Insemination? It works like isolated controlled mating yards.

Genetic diversity is now bigger than 100 y ago. Look at USA. It has all kinds of "new hybrid bee strains".

Look at Africanized bees. It has been shown now that it did not came via Mexico to USA.
It has been scutellata isles here and there. Beekeepers have moved genes secretly into their yards to get new crossings.

.
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dronedave22
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2011, 07:57:51 AM »

Thank you for the great replies everyone, my thoughts are I see great progress in keepers and breeders working on strains to improve desired traits.  But in natural matings only the fastest, strongest and best drones get to mate with the future queens, so even if these drones aren't carrying the best desired traits for the bee keeper the stronger and more diverse genes are getting passed on.  On the subject of dogs, the show ring has ruined many great breeds, the GSD is a terrific example of this, ever seen the gait on a show GSD?  Question can other hymenoptera be artificially inseminated?  Any pics of hybrid Ants, Bees or Wasps?
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Finski
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2011, 11:59:45 AM »

But in natural matings only the fastest, strongest and best drones get to mate with the future queens, so even if these drones aren't carrying the best desired traits for the bee keeper the stronger and more diverse genes are getting passed on. 
DAve

that is very close to urban legend.

25 years ago we had here German Black race. It was unselected quite wild population.
They had a harmful feature. They were rapid to mate with Caucasians and Italians. They were the most stupid bees, but they were rapid like rabits. Then varroa killed them, thanks to heaven.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2011, 02:36:38 PM »

Thank you for the great replies everyone, my thoughts are I see great progress in keepers and breeders working on strains to improve desired traits.  But in natural matings only the fastest, strongest and best drones get to mate with the future queens, so even if these drones aren't carrying the best desired traits for the bee keeper the stronger and more diverse genes are getting passed on.  On the subject of dogs, the show ring has ruined many great breeds, the GSD is a terrific example of this, ever seen the gait on a show GSD?  Question can other hymenoptera be artificially inseminated?  Any pics of hybrid Ants, Bees or Wasps?
DAve

I agree.

As for mites, all bees were killed off in large numbers.

And it was not natural in any way when pests and disease are transmitted around the world like mites in the past 25 years. Nature has huge road blocks to slow down and even stop the migration of such pests. (Oceans, rivers, etc.) That is why when we transport them overnight, to far reaches of the globe, it usually has drastic consequences.

So translating some type bee, and the results of man introducing mites, is a bit off topic and really adds nothing to the points being made by Dave. So take a deep breathe, and blow it off.   rolleyes
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