BetterBees IndieBio Final 11-18-2015
So, after the last company failed synthesizing it (this happens from time to time, due to GC content etc), ordered it at another synthesis company a couple of days ago.
So, hopefully within 3-4 weeks we get our construct, and put into bees.
So excited to see our first own GM bees!!
One problem may be that over winter, our beekeeper won’t be able to produce offspring, so hopefully we can do this before!
The honeybee is in trouble. There are many diseases, and due to its kind of inbreeding, it has low genetic diversity. That means it has much less defense mechanisms than other insects.
Modern monocultures, the use of herbicides and pesticides (especially neonicotinoids) make the problem much worse.
All these factors are bad on their own and harm and kill the bees. But these factors also combine, and lead to colony collapse disorder,
In China there is so much bee death that they even have to pollinate by hand.
In the US – big troubles
So what can we do?
As mentioned, CCD is a mix of all diseases and factors. We at Bee-o-Tex have studied ways how to genetically engineer the bees to make them resistant to every single disease.
In nature, it happens that bees take up reverse fragments of the viral genome to get resistant. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0042682206009287
With modern genetic engineering techniques, we can do exactly the same, but with all kind of viruses. The process of RNA interference is well understood and routinely used in many molecular biology labs around the world. It’s called “knock-down” of a gene. Basically you insert a reverse complementary fragment (which exactly matches a part of an important virus gene) into the bees genome under control of a promoter. The bee then produces the RNA which binds to the viral RNA. RNA hybrids are recognized by the cells, and are quickly destroyed.
Other mechanisms we found include: How to fight fungal infections like Nosema, how to degrade neonicotinoids, etc. etc.
Currently, the only problem we’re having is to find someone with adequate skills in collecting seemen from the drones and inseminating a virgin queen.
As soon we have found one, the DNA with resistance against the three worst viruses and proteins against Nosema will be synthesized and put into a queen. Some of the offspring will then be transgenic (to facilitate the screening, those transgenic bees will also glow green under UV light due to GFP) .
We would love to hear from you!
I am happy to announce we found a beekeeper willing to do insemination with our DNA mixed with drone’s semen!!
Still, if you are also interested in trying the insemination with our DNA construct, just let us know. We’ll be happy to have as much collaborators as possible.