Royal jelly is an important apiarian product for honeybees and has been used as an important ingredient to human health and healthy life style. Because of its wide use, there is great demand in their production. As royal jelly is a secretion of the cephalic glands of bees and it is produced at a certain age of the workers, it is necessary to perform the selection of producing queens to increase the amount produced. The employment of molecular markers is a tool that can be used to identify the genotypes of the best producers. Among the molecular markers, one of them called MRJP3 (Major Royal Jelly Protein 3) has been used in the Program of Improvement of Apis mellifera Royal Jelly Producing (PIAMRJP), State University of Maringá, Brazil. This molecular marker has been efficient in genotyping queens’ royal jelly producers. Combined with classical breeding studies, the selection of queens assisted by MRJP3 marker has allowed to keep the selected genotypes for royal jelly production since 2006 (10 years). In this chapter, we present the main aspects of royal jelly, the hypopharyngeal glands, the major proteins of royal jelly and how it can be used as molecular markers.
Part of the book: Beekeeping and Bee Conservation