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Published on November 9th, 2008 | by Jerry James Stone

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UK Professor Hopes Modified Bee Genes Can Prevent Colony Collapse Disorder

November 9th, 2008 by


A UK Professor Hopes His Genetically Modified Worker Bees Can Help Stop The Colony Collapse Disorder That Is Grossly Effecting the UK Economy

Last week 140,000 protesters from the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) marched on Whitehall demanding $8-million in emergency funding from the Department for Environment to tackle alarming rates of bee decline. The decline has cost the UK economy about $54-million in the past year alone.

[social_buttons] But British scientist Francis Ratnieks — and the UK’s only professor of apiculture –  is pioneering research that he hopes will assuage the hardship beekeepers have been experiencing with colony collapse disorder.

He hopes to reverse the decline of the honeybee by breeding cleaner bees to protect hives from harmful diseases. The cleaner bee is a breed of worker bee that will be genetically programmed to keep hives clean. They will be responsible for removing pupae and larvae from the hives if they are dead or dying.

Currently these cleaner bees only exist in very small numbers. The hygienic bee was first observed in the 1930s, but at most only 10-percent of a hive has bees with this gene.

Basically, if more of these bees can be “created” then they can protect hives from parasites like the varroa mite: last year the mite killed more than 2-billion honeybees and wiped out one in three colonies.

This three project is being privately funded by the leading UK honey brand Rowse Honey. The company has warned Britain that the country could run out of home-produced honey by Christmas.

Aside from just honey, bees pollinate some $165-million worth of crops in the UK annually, as well as flowers and wild plants. The Bee Farmers’ Association is supporting the project by helping to test colonies with hygienic queens in 100 hives across Britain, to see if they are also good at making honey.

Source: guardian.co.uk |  Image source: david.nikonvscanon on Flickr under Creative Commons

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About the Author

is a web developer, part-time blogger, and a full-time environmentalist. His crusade for all things eco started twenty years ago when he ditched his meat-and-potatoes upbringing for something more vegetarian-shaped. His passions include cooking, green tech, eco politics, and smart green design. And while he doesn't own a car anymore, he loves to write about those too. Jerry studied at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. During his time there he was a DJ at the campus station KCPR and he also wrote for the campus paper. Jerry currently resides in San Francisco, CA with his cat Lola. You can stalk him on Twitter @jerryjamesstone.



  • NIC M

    THIS COULD WRK!!

  • http://www.biobees.com Phil Chandler

    Either the writer doesn't know what 'genetic modification' means or this is a deliberate attempt to pull the wool over otherwise moderately sensible people's eyes. You can't breed 'cleaner bees' – there is no such thing! Some bees may display more 'hygienic behavior' than others, but this has nothing to do with so-called 'CCD', which is virtually non-existent in the UK. This is the sort of ill-informed crap that one normally expects from the Daily Mail.

  • http://godpchelovoda.ru Ded Pchelovod

    Wouldn’t it lead humanity far from real nature? Real insects and real honey? Isn’t it dangerous?

  • Edward Palamar

    Jesus Christ has raised me from the dead!

    I have found you!

    I am in the process of attempting to respond to the first 1000 results in a google search for ‘Peter the Roman’, the final pontiff in the St. Malachy prophecies. Total results are over 3 million. Yet, the prophecy given in 1139 A.D. was in virtual obscurity for over 400 years until the invention of the printing press. In the computer age there has been a resurgence in the interest of the list of names.

    As Jesus Christ spoke of not rejoicing that the spirits are subject to us, but that our names are written in heaven, and the fact that Jesus Christ has raised me from the dead to the office of ‘Peter the Roman’, I hold that the list of names in the St. Malachy prophecies are akin to, if not exactly, those very names written in heaven.

    Even Nostradamus spoke of ‘Peter the Roman’ in Century VII, #24.

    The use of ‘the strong one’ in the quatrain also refers to Daniel 7:7.

    Jesus Christ’s resurrecting me is in His fulfillment of an agreement of contract law (Matthew 3:15) into which both He and I entered prior to my baptising Him.

    Planetsave is in the 301-400 page of results.

    I am pleased to meet you.

    Please feel free to respond.

    The reality of the future is not totally revealed to us, it is written, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard of the wonders God has in store for us.”

    As Christ had sent me to bear him witness, I now bear witness that HEAVEN IS GREAT!!!

    The world is saved through the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Brown Scapular and Rosary as prophesied.

    I normally use my Christian surname, Edward Palamar, but I remain:
    the resurrected John, Prophet of the Most High,
    whom Jesus Christ called the “Elias who was to come.”,
    St. John the Baptist, enjoying the rapture in the call of duty as Peter the Roman
    _____

    The regular problem I find in explaining what is plain to me (private revelation) is that some others regard what I say as a claim, as if they are holding something of mine (as a cloak check) that I need to present proof in order to regain that something of mine. For anyone to be this way indicates they indeed do have or think they have something of mine, else they wouldn’t try to barter as such. Christ himself said, “An evil and wicked generation demands a sign.” In that regard, I could just as well keep my mouth shut. But I do rejoice.

    I trust Jesus as God to know the better of His plans, especially when it comes to putting spirit in and out of men. Is not our breath the breath of God? I think so. Christ also said, “If you are prepared to receive it, he (John [the Baptist]) was the Elijah who was to come.” I don’t think I was prepared to recieve it, but am capable now of understanding that.

    God once took a man to heaven bodily, the prophet Elijah. As God appeared to Moses in the burning bush because to see God’s glory directly would have caused Moses to die, something happened to Elijah to prevent him from suffering a similar fate for many years even though it is recorded that he went to heaven in a whirlwind. Any time beyond 120 years would have been the normal end for Elijah. It was part of God’s plan to bring Elijah back in spirit.

    The spirit of Elijah was put back into corruptable flesh and God had created a living soul. The Father in heaven via the angel Gabriel and Zachary gave the name “John” to that particular living soul. “John” was not given a seperate breath but that of Elijah.

    Christ died to save souls. So when Christ raises that soul of “John”, “John” is given a new course of both body and spirit, making “John” a living soul again.

    In essence, I have been given a free ride. But such is the existence of any creature of God. “God blesses and curses whom He pleases.”

    All living souls owe their existences to God, the Giver of Life. It is God who makes their souls alive. It is God’s prerogative to name and apportion spirit as He sees proper.

    Tertian Harmony and Chord Manual at : http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tertian_Harmony/ Some recorded piano solos at : http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=845707
    _____

    I furthermore hold that the fulfillment of “Glory of the Olives” is one who administered Holy Communion to me while I was yet conjoined to a diametrically opposed twin. At the moment of reception of Holy Communion, the twin and I were disjoined miraculously. I have since come to have knowledge that the twin is indeed a fulfillment of Daniel 8 as well, that is, the King of the Greeks.

    The links to “Olives” here are most manifest.

  • Pingback: Five Things You Can do to Help the Bees : Planetsave

  • Jerry James Stone

    re: Wolf

    Not a terrible idea! Maybe a poopless cat, I hate emptying the litter box.

  • http://massmediacontrol.blogspot.com Wolf

    Wow.genetically cleaner bees…whats next a poopless human.

  • http://dir.blogflux.com/tracker.php?id=175696&373926291=373926291http://www.xemion.com/out.php?id=24062&373926291 web design

    Awesome. Not to be overly selfish, but a world without honey is a sad sad world. Of course, the lack of crop pollinization also greatly sucks.

  • Jerry James Stone

    re: cchiovitti

    Seriously, how much does this sound like one of those B-movies from the 60′s. Alfred Hitchcock would have been all over an idea like this!

  • Sheree

    We didn’t learn our lesson about tampering with bees LAST TIME, apparently.

  • Chris Slade

    This report is so badly written and contradictory (was it CCD or varroa that killed 2 billion bees this year; and wouldn’t all but the queens have died of old age anyway?)that it is difficult to glean facts from the sensational supposition. Does Francis intend to produce GM bees or use conventional selection methods? I suspect the latter.

    It is good news that some research is happening anyway despite continual cuts back in government funding.

  • http://uk-tv-guide.com TV Guide

    About time too!

  • Jim Jones

    CCD? Is this like ADD for bees? Weird. Who’s helpin the bees?

    Jess
    http://www.anolite.echoz.com

  • http://www.squidoo.com/fun-usb-drives cchiovitti

    Hmmm, this sounds promising but I would worry a bit about the “unintended” consequences. Africanized honey bees started arose from the same desires to improve the species.

  • http://www.powershaker.net GrandGizmo

    It’s over. Lord’s coming back soon. Have a quarter of barley for a day’s wages. Bats are dying off, too. No one even knows why. Frogs all over the world depleting… They minimize insect populations that kill crops. That genetic stuff won’t work. It’s over. It’s coming. Mayans knew it. They all knew it. December 21, 2012 and after that immense tribulation. Next Pope is the last. Peter the Roman. Probably the False Prophet.

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