, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 150–161

Both geometric morphometric and microsatellite data consistently support the differentiation of the Apis mellifera M evolutionary branch

  • Irati Miguel
  • Michel Baylac
  • Mikel Iriondo
  • Carmen Manzano
  • Lionel Garnery
  • Andone Estonba
Original Article


Traditional morphometrics, allozymes, and mitochondrial data have supported a close relationship between the M branch subspecies A. m. iberiensis and the North African subspecies (A branch). However, studies using nuclear DNA markers have revealed a clear distinction between the latter and the two European M branch subspecies. In help resolve this paradox, we analyzed 663 colonies from six European and African subspecies. A geometric morphometrics approach was applied to the analysis of wing shape, and the results were compared with data of six microsatellite loci. Both data sets were found to be highly consistent and corroborated a marked divergence of West European subspecies from North African ones. This supports the hypothesis that the presence of the African lineage mitotype in Iberian honey bee populations is likely the consequence of secondary introductions, with a minimal African influence within the current Iberian genetic background. Wing geometric morphometrics appears more appropriate than mitochondrial DNA analysis or traditional morphometrics in the screening and identification of the Africanization process.


honeybee evolutionary branch wing morphology geometric morphometrics microsatellite 


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB-AGIB and Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irati Miguel
    • 1
  • Michel Baylac
    • 2
  • Mikel Iriondo
    • 1
  • Carmen Manzano
    • 1
  • Lionel Garnery
    • 3
    • 4
  • Andone Estonba
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversity of the Basque CountryLeioaSpain
  2. 2.Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleCNRS UMR 7205 and UMS 2700, Plate-Forme MorphométrieParisFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire Évolution, Génomes et SpéciationCNRSGif-sur-Yvette CedexFrance
  4. 4.UFR des sciencesUniversité de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-YvelinesVersaillesFrance

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