Background: The varroa mite is one of the main causes of honey bee mortality. An important mechanism by which honey bees increase their resistance against this mite is the expression of suppressed mite reproduction. This trait describes the physiological inability of mites to produce viable offspring and was found associated with eight genomic variants in previous research.
Results: This paper presents the development and validation of high-throughput qPCR assays with dual-labeled probes for discriminating these eight single-nucleotide variants. Within the sequenced samples, additional variants were detected in the primer/probe binding sites in four out of the eight variants of interest. As for two of these the additional variants interfered with the genotyping outcome supplementary primers and/or probes were developed. Inclusion of these primers and probes in the assay mixes allowed for the correct genotyping of all eight variants of interest.
Conclusion: These outcomes underline the importance of checking for interfering variants in designing qPCR assays. Ultimately, the availability of this assay allows genotyping for the suppressed mite reproduction trait and paves the way for marker assisted selection in breeding programs.