5.1. Closed-population breeding

In a closed population, there is no introduction of unknown genetic material: this can be achieved by use of completely isolated mating stations (section 2.2.2.) or instrumental insemination (see the BEEBOOK paper on instrumental insemination, Cobey et al., 2013). The aim of this kind of design is to rapidly achieve improvement while limiting loss of genetic variability (which would lead to inbreeding depression). Laidlaw and Page (1986) list 3 basic strategies:

  • Daughters from all of the breeding queens are each mated (instrumentally inseminated) to 10 drones selected at random from the entire population; replacement breeder queens are selected at random from all the daughters of all the breeder queens, without considering their parentage. To operate this design as a long term plan, about 50 breeder colonies must be selected at each generation, in order to reduce inbreeding.
  • Each breeder queen is replaced by one of her daughters, reared as above.
  • All queen daughters are inseminated with the same aliquot of mixed semen originating from drones of all breeder queens.