Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor
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  1. #1
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    Default Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    An interesting paper reference by Tom Seeley during his keynote at Apimondia describing a protocol for Darwinian beekeeping.]


    "Darwinian black box selection for resistance to settled invasive Varroa destructor parasites in honey bee"
    https://link.springer.com/article/10...30-019-02001-0

    Abstract
    Established invasive species can pose a continuous threat to biodiversity and food security, thereby calling for sustainable mitigation. There is a consensus that the ubiquitous ecto-parasitic mite Varroa destructor, an invasive species from Asia, is the main biological threat to global apiculture with Apis mellifera. V. destructor has almost completely wiped out wild European honey bee (Apis mellifera) populations. The only remedy for apiculture, to date, is frequent control measures against the mite throughout the season, which prevents possible adaptations. While targeted breeding efforts have, so far, not achieved the selection of tolerant or resistant bees, natural selection approaches have succeeded at least seven times. Here, we propose to take advantage of natural selection for honey bee resistance by stopping mite treatment in managed colonies. The main principles are within population mating of the colonies’ own virgin queens and drones and selection based on survival and proliferous development of colonies. Being used for 10 years, it has shown to result in grosso modo ‘normal’ colonies with a high level of resistance to V. destructor. Here, we call for local groups of beekeepers and scientists to join a novel natural selection program that has started so far on three locations. This will eventually lead to several locally adapted V. destructor resistant honey bee populations around the world, and help global apiculture becoming more sustainable.


    Darwinian Beekeeping: An Evolutionary Approach to Apiculture - Tom Seeley
    https://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.o...ian-beekeeping
    Evolution by natural selection is a foundational concept for understanding the biology of honey bees, but it has rarely been used to provide insights into the craft of beekeeping. This is unfortunate because solutions to the problems of beekeeping and bee health may come most rapidly if we are as attuned to the biologist Charles R. Darwin as we are to the Reverend Lorenzo L. Langstroth. .......


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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Wow, that study makes two false claims in just its abstract. Makes you wonder if the authors even bothered reading the literature before they wrote it...or if they've ever picked up an introductory textbook on evolution.

    The very idea that you can somehow divorce breeding from evolutionary pressure is...ascientific to be polite about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Madsen View Post
    The only remedy for apiculture, to date, is frequent control measures against the mite throughout the season, which prevents possible adaptations.
    Yeah, that's not how evolution works. Unless you are continually treating your hives, or otherwise ensuring that they have no mite load at all times, than they are exposed to selective pressure from the mites. Less than with no treatment, but less does not equal zero.

    There is literally a whole area of evolutionary science, with thousands of trained experts around the world, who address the role of evolution in animal and plant breeding...how is it a study could write about evolution in the breeding of an animal and not cite a single resource from a massive and relevant area of scientific investigation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Madsen View Post
    While targeted breeding efforts have, so far, not achieved the selection of tolerant or resistant bees
    Wasn't true even 9 years ago: https://www.apidologie.org/articles/...27/m09127.html

    I'm wondering where they think the various VSH, Russian and other resistant strains came from?

    [QUOTE=Alex Madsen;1760439]Here, we call for local groups of beekeepers and scientists to join a novel natural selection program that has started so far on three locations.[quote]
    So a group who doesn't appear to understand evolution, and who had to ignore a lot of published science to write an abstract, wants to recruit you and your apiary to take part in their work...count me out!

    B

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Thanks for the link! Deb
    Proverbs 16:24

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    wellp I have been waiting to see peoples response.

    My feeling this is rehashed "death cult" gibberish full of 1/2 truths and research miscartiurstion. The plan of "let them die and split what lives" has failed consistently with only a few notitabul exceptions. By failed I mean failed to create an economically viable genetic line.

    If "nature" was the answer, Tom Seeley would be millionuer queen producer selling Arnot forest queens. You don't see Gotland or Avignon bees on the market either...Much talked about in studys and papers...but they don't work when moved and or are aggressive and or don't make much honey. I am not saying these populations can't be a source of traites for a real breeding program. But nature hasn't given us a bee we want to work

    What HAS worked is human selection based on objective metrics and (most importunately) the grafting tool. VHS, USDA Russian, Purdue Mite Bitters, and John Keffus' bees all come to mind.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    There is an unshakable conviction in some circles that a varroa resistant gene is magically hiding in the honey bee genome just waiting for everyone to stop treating so that it can emerge.
    If humans stopped keeping bees, eventually…..and I’m talking over eons…..a range of possible results might happen. Honey bees might go extinct. Or, if they somehow coped with the parasite, a successful coexistence might emerge. In that case the resulting bee would surely be a considerably different animal than the bees we keep today.
    Just my opinion .
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    But nature hasn't given us a bee we want to work
    Besides, nature hasn't given the bee a Varroa the bee deslikes very strongly.

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    There is an unshakable conviction in some circles that a varroa resistant gene is magically hiding in the honey bee genome just waiting for everyone to stop treating so that it can emerge.
    Given the general trends we see in nature, far more likely outcomes than emergence of a resistance gene in bees are:

    1. Adaptation of varroa to bees, leading to the emergence of a less pathogenic form of varroa
    2. Extinction of honey bees
    3. Replacement of European honey bees by either asiatic or hybrid bees

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    Given the general trends we see in nature, far more likely outcomes than emergence of a resistance gene in bees are:

    1. Adaptation of varroa to bees, leading to the emergence of a less pathogenic form of varroa
    2. Extinction of honey bees
    3. Replacement of European honey bees by either asiatic or hybrid bees
    Early data from Randy Oliver would seem to be testing this hypothesis and is putting them in doubut.

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/sele...king-the-walk/

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    What HAS worked is human selection based on objective metrics and (most importunately) the grafting tool. VHS, USDA Russian, Purdue Mite Bitters, and John Keffus' bees all come to mind.
    Perhaps I am mistaken, didn't Russian bees result from a Darwinian selection in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia without objective metrics?

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    The USDA Russian stock went threw years of selective breeding state side to enhance the base stocks natural resistance and extensively used breeder queens and grafting, on top of that I think its foolish to beleave that Primorsky beekeepers didn't selectively breed bees.

    The methods outlined in the paper are poor and ignore bee basics
    They have chosen about the worst way to produce queen.
    If you split all your strong hives 5 ways, were are the "good" drones coming from
    if you split your strong hives, how do you run full sized hives for honey, and see what works?-Most stocks can be kept split and small, make little honey do to size and live with mites https://projects.sare.org/project-reports/fne16-840/ shows this well side note poor performing queens keeping the population down may help as well... but none of this has a gentnice effect.... sure your not using cems, but you proping up poor stock just the same.

    If the keeper dose happen to get a great resistant queen, they are not going to see it do to the small hives, and they are not going to have the skills to propagate it on a scale that would make a difrance.. her daughters and grand daughters genetics get washed out in a sea of advage drones

  12. #11

    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Madsen View Post
    Early data from Randy Oliver would seem to be testing this hypothesis and is putting them in doubut.
    There isn’t anything in Randy Oliver’s methods that hasn’t been done in countless other professional bee breeding programs over the past few decades. Those programs have teased out every genetic trait to improve varroa tolerance/resistance that currently exists in the EHB genome.
    I like much of what Randy Oliver does but I think his queen selection program is mainly a means to promote his brand.
    All…just my opinion.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Madsen View Post
    Perhaps I am mistaken, didn't Russian bees result from a Darwinian selection in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia without objective metrics?
    NO.
    Not in 200 years the bees were introduced there.

    YES.
    Some adaptation phenomenon did occurs and has been occuring as we speak.
    Which is probably rather a norm, granted many other examples.
    Just a not understood norm; not trivialized "Darwinian selection".

    No one really knows the stuff.
    They just keep talking as if they know something (either for or against).
    Like I have been saying - lots of "smart people say lots of smart words"....... (I better stop here anymore, not to repeat myself).

    Meanwhile, the original Far Eastern bees have been doing fine.
    .... (the officials and the official science tell to treat them too - last I checked; the bees are doing fine despite the official "party policy").
    There is so much of empirical evidence - not sure what else is left to say.
    The "experts" should figure it out.

    PS:
    I am also getting tired of talking of the Bashkortostan wild bees
    ........................(PS: these are largely the original, "old", long-term wild bees - NOT a "new", recently formed hybrid as in "Russian Far Eastern" stock - just to make this clear)..........

    the process is happening in front of our own eyes (the "scientists" - get in there and study - it is all right there and right now);
    the local bee tree runners there are NOT concerned of the mites anymore after 50 years of the "screaming wolf" by the officials and the official science;
    the locals are concerned with the importations of the outside bees that pollute the indigenous stock - that is the true issue on hand at the moment for them.
    Last edited by GregV; 10-18-2019 at 10:46 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    I am also getting tired of talking of the Bashkortostan wild bees
    he local bee tree runners there are NOT concerned of the mites anymore after 50 years of the "screaming wolf" by the officials and the official science
    A great bedtime story, but I am not so sure why you think they are so shiny

    2014 the preserve had almost 500,000 acres, 300 active bee tree hives, 900 empty ones
    Then there were the 4,000 modern frame hives in the same area and stock. that shockingly(lol) , needed treatments
    Ilyasov, Rustem. (2015). Burzyan wild-hive honeybee A. m. mellifera in South Ural. The Beekeepers Quarterly. 119. 25-33.

    I think it shows Darwin beekeeping at its best works great till you want to keep your numbers up, move out of an isolated preserve, or an get an economical harvest..
    same story over and over and over.
    move the stock, and or put it in a modern hive and you end up needing to treat to prevent colaspace... same story over and over and over.
    just like Seeleys work, just like Gotland and Avignon just like Ross conrads SARE work, just like the COMB program.

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    [*]Adaptation of varroa to bees, leading to the emergence of a less pathogenic form of varroa
    I was at one of the talks Apimodia by a fella doing genetic analysis of the difference between one of the so called 'wild varroa tolerant' populations, and comparing it to a managed population. They could find no differences in the bees. At the same time, they had done genetic analysis of the mites, and found a couple dramatic differences between the mites in the wild population vs those in the managed population.

    The bees have not adapted in that case, the mites are the ones who adapted. It's more likely that there was little adaptation in the timeframe, just selection for less virulent mites because those are the ones who's host colonies survived.

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    I don't know if the following will help, or just serve to muddy the waters ... but there is a fairly new branch of Biology called 'Epigenetics', And although the term has been in use for a good while in the sense of "the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself", which is what I understood the term to mean back in my undergrad days - since around the 1990's it has come to mean: "the study of heritable phenotype changes that do not involve alterations in the DNA sequence" - which re-definition represents a whole new Biological ball-game.

    Beekeepers are of course familiar with the epigenetic development which changes what would otherwise be a Queen Bee into a Worker Bee (or vice-versa) by virtue of the larva being fed a different diet, whilst the DNA genetic code remains unchanged in both organisms. However, that epigenetic development is a 'one-time' event, and is non-reversible.

    In contrast, a Nobel Prize has just been awarded to three scientists(*) who discovered how cells sense and adapt to oxygen levels 'on the fly', so to speak, and it's this reversible mechanism which I find particularly exciting, and which might possibly have implications for short-term adaptations in honeybees. Perhaps.

    The scientists discovered that a specific cluster of proteins changed the way in which DNA was expressed. In turn, cells which were affected by the changed behaviour produced another protein which reduced the production of the first cluster of proteins, thus forming a regulatory negative-feedback system which was controlled - in the case being studied - by oxygen levels. So that when a low level of oxygen was detected, more red blood cells were created in order to compensate for the low level of ambient O2. The important point here being that the DNA of the individuals concerned remained unaltered.

    So - assuming for a moment that this type of mechanism is more widely used across all species (which I accept can only be speculation for now), then biological adjustments of all kinds could be occurring - without DNA mutations ever taking place. Such adjustments are undoubtedly reversible, but whether they are heritable or not remains anyone's guess (imo).

    It was Lamarck who, around 1800, proposed that environmental influences were responsible for altering an organism's heritable phenotype, but his ideas were to be rejected in favour of Darwinism. Who knows, perhaps epigenetic transgenerational inheritance will eventually demonstrate that 'the truth' lies somewhere within both theories ... ?

    LJ

    (*) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49959737
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    If anyone else is like me regarding Epigenetics (i.e. floundering around in the dark, unaware of recent developments within this field), there are a couple of useful Wikipedia entries on the subject - or if you have the appetite for a really in-depth read, then there's a very good (imo) and up-to-date (2018) write-up in the 'Frontiers of Molecular Neuroscience': https://www.frontiersin.org/articles...2018.00292/pdf (free download).

    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    A great bedtime story.....
    Let me remind you, MSL, the honey harvested from those few bee trees is marketed at about 3-4 times the generic, industrial honey.
    They are always sold out.
    More is not better.
    Bigger is not better.
    Applicable to honey also (why lag a ton of honey, if a bucket gets you the same return?).

    The real problem the tree operators face - fake bee tree honey.
    Now that really undercuts the bee tree business.

    Besides, I am puzzled by the common desire to pursue these mega-crops of honey (which then require you to scale in numbers and in sizes).
    Time to rethink the entire marketing idea around the bees - long overdue.
    It is much smarter to market little things for a lot of money - not truck around huge volumes for little money.
    Who needs more honey in 21st century?
    People do not need more honey.
    Unsure why keep thinking as in 19th century still.

    PS: the nearby industrial bee yards will collapse without treatments - who argues;
    the same old generic issues - overcrowding, imported bees, managing for maximum crop (industrial honey is cheap - they have to push volumes)...
    nothing new - issues are similar to the US big operators;

    All the while the tree bees are never treated and are mite-infested since 1970s.
    And btw, I already mentioned this (probably in the primitive beekeeping talks) - there is now opinion of the tree bees improving the surrounding industrial bees (in many beneficial traits). Yep - that the exact same feral bee population talk as in the US.
    Last edited by GregV; 10-20-2019 at 08:48 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    If anyone else is like me regarding Epigenetics (i.e. floundering around in the dark, unaware of recent developments within this field), there are a couple of useful Wikipedia entries on the subject - or if you have the appetite for a really in-depth read, then there's a very good (imo) and up-to-date (2018) write-up in the 'Frontiers of Molecular Neuroscience': https://www.frontiersin.org/articles...2018.00292/pdf (free download).

    LJ
    Here is a related read:

    Why the Earth Has Fewer Species Than We Think
    A primer on the epigenome.
    http://nautil.us/issue/63/horizons/w...-than-we-think
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    PS: the nearby industrial bee yards will collapse without treatments - who argues;
    the same old generic issues - overcrowding, imported bees, managing for maximum crop (industrial honey is cheap - they have to push volumes)..
    kinda was my point.. In this example its the same genetics run in modern hives (in the preserve set aside to keep these bees pure) and they need treatments.. natural slection/darwin/black box has failed

    By the same token you could likely take russtian/VSH/MBB or feral stock and run them Seeley small hive style, OTS, or the suggested black box program and be successful in keeping them alive, but don't confuse that with making genetic headway toward improved resistance.
    now if you can get 3-4x more for your treatment free honey, great! Indeed if that market would develop and was willing to pay a preaimun we would see a management shift... Following the shift of hormone/antibiotic free meat/milk, cage free eggs, etc

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    Default Re: Darwinian black box selection for resistance Varroa destructor

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    kinda was my point.. In this example its the same genetics run in modern hives (in the preserve set aside to keep these bees pure) and they need treatments.. natural slection/darwin/black box has failed

    By the same token you could likely take russtian/VSH/MBB or feral stock and run them Seeley small hive style, OTS, or the suggested black box program and be successful in keeping them alive, but don't confuse that with making genetic headway toward improved resistance.
    now if you can get 3-4x more for your treatment free honey, great! Indeed if that market would develop and was willing to pay a preaimun we would see a management shift... Following the shift of hormone/antibiotic free meat/milk, cage free eggs, etc
    And this is kinda my point.

    Really, the mentality of the highly productive congested feed lot is the more basic and general problem (very high parasite susceptibility is only one episode of this general issue).
    We have overproduction as is and nearly half the produce goes into the trash.
    We don't need overproduction anymore - being the agrarians (as beekeepers are agrarians) - we ought to be striving to work LESS and get MORE in return.
    At least to me - this makes sense.
    Need to develop new markets, not get caught up in the "bigger hive/more honey is better" mentality.


    The entire idea of indefinitely "improving" the bees is unsustainable and a subject to the laws of diminishing returns.
    As of me, bees should be largely self-managing.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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