Establishment of a closed population honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), breeding program based on ‘black’ strains has been proposed for eastern Australia. Long-term success of such a program requires a high level of genetic variance. To determine the likely extent of genetic variation available, 50 colonies from 11 different commercial apiaries were sequenced in the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and II intergenic region. Five distinct and novel mitotypes were identified. No colonies were found with the A. mellifera mellifera mitotype, which is often associated with undesirable feral strains. One group of mitotypes was consistent with a caucasica origin, two with carnica, and two with ligustica. The results suggest that there is sufficient genetic diversity to support a breeding program provided all these five sources were pooled.
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Vol. 102 • No. 2