Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bee calamity clarified - Newsblog article from New Scientist

For full article click on title above

Posted by Bob Grant
[Entry posted at 24th August 2009 08:45 PM GMT]

An illness that has been decimating US honeybees for more than three years probably isn't caused by a single virus, but by multiple viruses that wear down the bees' ability to produce proteins that can guard them against infection, according to a new study.
Image: courtesy of Joseph Spencer

"We may not have the smoking gun," University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum, the study's main author, told The Scientist, but "we found the bullet hole."

Cells taken from bees that had succumbed to colony collapse disorder (CCD) were cluttered with ribosomal RNA fragments, suggesting that the bees had trouble translating genetic material into functional proteins, Berenbaum and her colleagues report today (August 24) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This is an elegant piece of work that weaves together data on host gene expression, microflora and observations of others into a coherent and compelling story," W. Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University researcher who was not involved with the study, wrote in an email to The Scientist.

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