Studies and papers accumulate about the genetic engineering of the honeybee. Since we as beekeepers maybe are confronted one day with a genetically modified honeybee, this is the thread we collect studies on the topic of the GMO bee. Feel free to contribute. Not much discussion, please, just a collection.
Just as a start:
Increased survival of the honey bee Apis melliferainfected with the microsporidian Nosema ceranae by effective gene silencing
This study examined the control of nosemosis caused by Nosema ceranae, one of the hard‐to‐control diseases of honey bees, using RNA interference (RNAi) technology. Double‐stranded RNA (dsRNA) for RNAi application targeted the mitosome‐related genes of N. ceranae. Among the various mitosome‐related genes, NCER_100882, NCER_101456, NCER_100157, and NCER_100686 exhibited relatively low homologies with the orthologs of Apis mellifera. Four gene‐specific dsRNAs were prepared against the target genes and applied to the infected A. mellifera to analyze Nosema proliferation and honey bee survival. Two dsRNAs specifics to NCER_101456 and NCER_100157 showed high inhibitory effects on spore production by exhibiting only 62% and 67%, respectively, compared with the control. In addition, these dsRNA treatments significantly rescued the honey bees from the fatal nosemosis. It was confirmed that the inhibition of Nosema spore proliferation and the increase in the survival rate of honey bees were resulted from a decrease in the expression level of each target gene by dsRNA treatment. However, dsRNA mixture treatment was no more effective than single treatments in the rescue from the nosemosis. It is expected that the four newly identified mitosome‐related target genes in this study can be effectively used for nosemosis control using RNAi technology.
While an interesting study, this is not a GMO'd bee. They are feeding the bees a dsRNA via their food which has the capability of entering Nosema and killing it. Essentially, the Nosema accidentally loads the dsRNA into what is normally an anti-viral pathway. This pathway usually targets and destroys viral genomes within cells, but the sequence of the added dsRNA "tricks" this system into targeting a critical Nosema gene, leading to its death.
It is possible to GMO a dsRNA directly into bees, and is an approach to treat diseases outside of the bees gut (e.g. there were trials along these lines for varroa and DWV in the past), but in this case you don't actually need to GMO the bee to see the benefit. Essentially, its a genetically-targeted pesticide, which is pretty cool as - if designed properly - there is no risk to other organisms in the environment.