Viewpoint: Activists fret about neonics, but viruses are the real threat to bees

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
beevirus
Image Credit: University of Florida

While environmentalists raise millions of dollars insisting they will get targeted pesticides (e.g. neonicotinoids) banned to save bees that aren’t really in peril, science is looking at things which do actually put bees at risk.

At the top of the list is not pesticides, it’s nature. An international team has discovered evidence of 27 previously unknown viruses in bees, which could help scientists design strategies to prevent the spread of viral pathogens among these important pollinators.

To investigate viruses in bees, a team collected samples of DNA and RNA, which is responsible for the synthesis of proteins, from 12 bee species in nine countries across the world. Next, they used high-throughput sequencing that efficiently detected both previously identified and 27 never-seen-before viruses belonging to at least six new families in a single experiment. Some of the viruses exist in multiple bee species — such as in honey bees and in bumble bees — suggesting that these viruses may freely circulate within different bee populations.

Related article:  Bee experts say ditch Cheerios' wildflower seeds, plant native ones to fight pollinator decline

Read full, original article: Bees: It’s The Viruses That Are The Problem

Outbreak Featured
Infographic: Gene transfer mystery — How 'antifreeze' genes jumped from one species to another without sex

Infographic: Gene transfer mystery — How ‘antifreeze’ genes jumped from one species to another without sex

It isn’t surprising... that herrings and smelts, two groups of fish that commonly roam the northernmost reaches of the Atlantic ...
a bee covered in pollen x

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
glp menu logo outlined

Get news on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.