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Genetics and Molecular Biology
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TAVARES, Mara Garcia et al. Genetic divergence between populations of the stingless bee uruçu amarela (Melipona rufiventris group, Hymenoptera, Meliponini): is there a new Melipona species in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais?. Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2007, vol.30, n.3, pp.667-675. ISSN 1415-4757. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-47572007000400027.
Allozyme, microsatellite and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) molecular markers were used to investigate the within and between population genetic variability and between population genetic differentiation of the Brazilian stingless bee uruçu amarela (nominally Melipona rufiventris Lepeletier, 1836) present in savanna and Atlantic forest habitats of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais (MG). We found low levels of within population variability, although there were a large number of private alleles that specifically characterized these populations. The FST values indicated a high level of genetic diversity between populations. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed a high degree of population differentiation between the savanna and Atlantic forest habitats, confirmed by population pairwise FST data. Principal coordinates analysis and unweighted pair-group method using an arithmetic average (UPGMA) dendrograms also confirmed that in Minas Gerais the savanna populations (M. rufiventris) were genetically distinct from those present in the Atlantic forest (M. mondury). In addition, populations from locations near the towns of Dom Bosco and Brasilândia de Minas were genetically different from those collected in other localities in the savanna. Our data indicate that populations of uruçu amarela found in the savanna and Atlantic forest habitats of Minas Gerais state should be treated separately for conservation purposes and that special attention should be given to the populations found in the region of Dom Bosco and Brasilândia de Minas until their taxonomic status is clarified.
Keywords : endangered species; genetic divergence; molecular markers; stingless bees; uruçu amarela.