Bee calamity clarified

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 linkurl:May Berenbaum,;http://www.life.illinois.edu/entomology/faculty/berenbaum.html the study's main author, told __The Scientist__, bu

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Aug 23, 2009
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 linkurl:May Berenbaum,;http://www.life.illinois.edu/entomology/faculty/berenbaum.html 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 linkurl:report;http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/08/21/0906970106 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 linkurl:others;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;318/5848/283?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=Lipkin%2C+I&andorexacttitle=or&andorexacttitleabs=or&andorexactfulltext=or&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&fdate=7/1/1880&tdate=8/31/2009&resourcetype=HWCIT,HWELTR into a coherent and compelling story," W. Ian...



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