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First estimate of genetic parameters for the Syrian honey bee Apis mellifera syriaca

ABSTRACT

Population-specific parameters are important for designing breeding programmes, providing insights into the possible genetic gain achieved in the conditions under which the traits were measured. In the present study, 72 beekeepers and three breeding centres provided performance testing results from 1,088 colonies. (Co)variances were estimated by restricted maximal likelihood (REML). Computations were carried out with both REMLF90 and AIREMLF90 software. In this first approach for Apis mellifera syriaca, a typical representative of the endangered subspecies of the Middle East, we found that the heritabilities for honey production (H) and gentleness (G) were hH2 = 0.27 ± 0.32 and hG2 = 0.08 ± 0.28, respectively. A negative genetic correlation between the two traits was estimated (rHG = −0.50 ± 0.93).