Bee genetics and conservation

  • Zayed A
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Abstract

The emerging threat of pollinator decline has motivated research on bee conservation biology in order to both understand the causes of declines and to develop appropriate conservation strategies. The application of genetics to the conservation of diploid animals has proven to be important for both overcoming genetic threats to population viability and for providing tools to guide conservation programs. However, the haplodiploid bees have several unusual genetic properties of relevance to their conservation, which warrant special attention. Here I review how haplodiploidy and complementary sex determination affect genetic parameters pertinent to the viability and future evolutionary potential of bee populations. I also review how genetic tools can improve the conservation management of bees. I find that bees are especially prone to extinction for genetic reasons, and that genetics can provide invaluable tools for managing bee populations to circumvent pollinator decline.

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Authors

  • Amro Zayed

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