, Volume 90, Issue 6, pp 265–268 | Cite as

Evidence for intra-colonial genetic variance in resistance to American foulbrood of honey bees (Apis mellifera): further support for the parasite/pathogen hypothesis for the evolution of polyandry

  • Kellie A. Palmer
  • Benjamin P. OldroydEmail author
Short Communication


Explanations for the evolution of multiple mating by social insect (particularly honey bee) queens have been frequently sought. An important hypothesis is that multiple mating is adaptive because it increases intracolonial genetic diversity and thereby reduces the likelihood that parasites or pathogens will catastrophically infect a colony. We tested one assumption of this model: that honey bee worker patrilines should differ in disease resistance. We used American foulbrood (caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae) as a model pathogen. We found that patrilines within colonies do indeed vary in their resistance to this disease.


Social Insect Drone Multiple Mating Nurse Worker American Foulbrood 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Michael Duncan for technical assistance and Michael Hornitzky for providing the site to keep AFB-infected colonies and for the culture of AFB spores. Madeleine Beekman and Rick Shine provided useful comments on this manuscript. This work was supported by an Australian Research Council grant to B.P.O.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences A12University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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