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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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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at gov.uk