Honeybee subspecies have been affected by human activities in Europe over the past few decades. One such example is the importation of nonlocal subspecies of bees which has had an adverse impact on the geographical repartition and subsequently on the genetic diversity of the black honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera. To restore the original diversity of this local honeybee subspecies, different conservation centres were set up in Europe. In this study, we established a black honeybee conservation centre Conservatoire de l'Abeille Noire d'Ile de France (CANIF) in the region of Ile-de-France, France. CANIF's honeybee colonies were intensively studied over a 3-year period. This study included a drone congregation area (DCA) located in the conservation centre. MtDNA COI-COII marker was used to evaluate the genetic diversity of CANIF's honeybee populations and the drones found and collected from the DCA. The same marker (mtDNA) was used to estimate the interactions and the haplotype frequency between CANIF's honeybee populations and 10 surrounding honeybee apiaries located outside of the CANIF. Our results indicate that the colonies of the conservation centre and the drones of the DCA show similar stable profiles compared to the surrounding populations with lower level of introgression. The mtDNA marker used on both DCA and colonies of the conservation centre seems to be an efficient approach to monitor and maintain the genetic diversity of the protected honeybee populations.
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