Credit: CC0 Public Domain What triggers African hybrid honey bees (AHB), likewise referred to as killer bees, to be extremely protective and aggressive? York University researchers have really found it was the mixing of African and European genes that resulted in hyper-aggression in this invasive tension of honey bees.
AHBs are a genes experiment failed. Scientists in Brazil imported a honey bee subspecies from South Africa and bred them with European-derived honey bees in the 1950s. The principle was to establish a much better subtropical honey bee, however bees left and mated with the regional bees.
” The resulting bees were extremely invasive and aggressive, even more than the European honey bees utilized by North and South American beekeepers at the time,” says Associate Instructor Amro Zayed of the Professors of Science, a co-author on the paper led by previous York Ph.D. student Brock Harpur, now an assistant teacher at Purdue University.
” The genes activating this active defensiveness were not popular, but the dominating understanding was that killer bees are aggressive because South African bees are aggressive.”
The new AHB nests rapidly recreated and spread out throughout, not only Brazil, nevertheless South America, Central America and, by 1990, the southern United States. Today, they have really entirely changed the European-derived honey bee in Brazil and are the most normal honey bee from Northern Argentina to the southern United States.The York University research study team measures the defense action of 116 Brazilian AHB nests making use of the Suede Ball test. A suede ball is carefully swung for one minute in front of the nest entryway promoting a defense response. Credit: Samir Kadri, a previous York checking out PhD student
The research group determined the defense reaction of 116 Brazilian AHB nests using the Suede Ball test (see video by among the researchers, Samir Kadri, a previous York visiting Ph.D. trainee from Brazil). A suede ball is gently swung for one minute in front of the nest entranceway promoting a defense response in the bees and encouraging additional bees to sting the ball.
” We sequenced the genomes of the most aggressive nests, which would sting the ball 90 times or more per minute, and the least aggressive colonies,” specifies Harpur. “We then compared the genomes of the most and least aggressive nests to identify abnormalities that connect with these differences in practices.”
” The most protective nests in our research study were more related to South African honey bees except at various locations of their genome that impact hostility. Here, they were more related to honey bees from Western Europe,” states Zayed. “That is– it was the mixing of these 2 honey bee subspecies that caused active aggressiveness.”
How DNA from these 2 subspecies engages to influence defense reaction is a crucial next concern.
Check out further
More information: Brock A Harpur et al, Defense response in Brazilian honey bees (Apis mellifera scutellata x spp.) is underpinned by complex patterns of admixture, Genome Biology and Advancement (2020 ). DOI: 10.1093/ gbe/evaa128
Provided by York University