ARS Information Service
October 1, 2021, Baton Rouge, La.– Honey bees might be deliberately bred to thrive on vegetation which might be already domestically current and even solely on synthetic diets, in keeping with a current U.S. Division of Agriculture Agricultural Analysis Service (ARS) research.
ARS researchers discovered particular person bees reply in a different way to the identical weight loss program and that there’s a sturdy genetic element concerned in how they reply to vitamin. This factors on to the idea that managed bees could be deliberately bred to do higher on totally different diets, whether or not you’re speaking about a man-made weight loss program or a weight loss program primarily based on particular vegetation already rising in an space, defined lead researcher Vincent A. Ricigliano. He’s with the ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Analysis Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“City growth, trendy agricultural techniques and environmental alterations attributable to local weather change, invasive vegetation, and even native landscaping preferences have all had a hand in regionalizing vegetation that dominate obtainable pollen. It may probably be extra helpful to tailor honey bees to do higher on what’s already obtainable as a substitute of working laborious to suit the setting to the bees,” Ricigliano stated.
The general goal could be breeding to enhance nutrient use by managed honey bees, like we’ve finished for poultry and cattle breeding applications, Ricigliano defined.
“Now that we all know there’s room for genetic adaptation to weight loss program, we may additionally have a look at breeding honey bees with improved nutrient effectivity or figuring out genotype biomarkers that reply to numerous dietary supplements to advertise honey bee well being,” he added.
In most industrial apiaries, honey bees do not need the chance to naturally breed to adapt to native situations as a result of industrial beekeepers sometimes substitute the queen in every colony yearly. The queen in a colony is the one bee that lays eggs to supply the subsequent technology.
Beekeepers normally buy new queens already inseminated from a handful of queen breeders in the US. Consequently, honey bees throughout the nation usually have the identical vary of genes for dietary responses with none specialised adaptation.
Honey bees have already been efficiently bred for a only a few chosen traits, amongst them Varroa mite resistance. Varroa mites are among the many single largest downside afflicting honey bees in the US in the present day.
“It was a bit of stunning to search out after we began this research that, regardless of a large physique of analysis pertaining to honey bee vitamin, comparatively little is understood in regards to the results of genetic variation on dietary response,” Ricigliano stated.
His subsequent step is to refine data about what genes management which nutrient and metabolic pathways and the place the best quantity of genetic variation exists in order that breeding plans could be particular and scientifically guided.
The Agricultural Analysis Service is the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house analysis company. Each day, ARS focuses on options to agricultural issues affecting America. Every greenback invested in agricultural analysis leads to $17 of financial affect.