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Gene research aims to protect British bees
Bees are vital for crop pollination

Entire genetic profile of bees is analysed to interpret disease threat in colonies

The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh has conducted research on the UK’s native honey bees. The research included the analysis of the genetic make-up of microorganisms that live inside bees in order to gain understanding of emerging diseases.

Bees are vital for crop pollination and have been considered endangered in the UK.

Experts found that results from some Scottish hives were genetically similar to that of the UK’s native dark honey bee. These results are encouraging as it suggests that native bees are better at surviving in colder climates than southern European bees; even though the latter group have been imported to the UK for many years.

The results also discovered previously unseen microorganisms inside bees that could potentially have disease-causing properties. Infected hives may be at a greater risk of developing other illnesses. Researchers say that this knowledge could help to improve health monitoring in bee populations and in safeguarding against disease.

Dr Tim Regan, a University of Edinburgh postdoctoral research fellow, concluded: “We have created a platform that could revolutionise how we monitor threats to honey bees and maintain their health. The decreasing cost of DNA sequencing could potentially allow this type of analysis to become routine.”

Image (c) The Roslin Institute

 

 

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.