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I hope it's true, but there is a history of these type of articles that do not reference the actual research they are discussing, of having their facts wrong.
 

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-While it's cool to know that they can identify the gene we can select the same by killing the brood and see how long it takes them to clean it out . More beekeepers should do it.
 

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Some are trying to make genetic tools to avoid that sampling method. Well known that hygienic behaviour has lots of genes involved.
 

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Rather than beekeepers trying to find colonies with strong hygienic behavior through field observations, breeding could be based solely on selecting the bees with genetic information that points towards the strongest disease-resistance. “We can now try breeding bees with these genetic mutations that predict hygienic behavior,” Zayed added.

I think Zayed is saying that we ought to be going to a laboratory to have our bees genetically tested to find a set of mutations instead of observing the performance of our hives and deciding which are the the best queens.


That's not going to happen in my yard.
 

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Having tools that I don't have access too doesn't help very much.
Again, without more information on the scope of this story, we're just guessing, but the story did mention varroa as part of the hygienic behaviors identified. That said, it is well known that freeze-killed brood assay does not identify varroa sensitive hygienic behavior, so if what is being developed is a broad-based set of hygienic behaviors (including varroa), then this IS very interesting.

If someone can find a link to the the original research paper please post it here.
 

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Again, without more information on the scope of this story, we're just guessing, but the story did mention varroa as part of the hygienic behaviors identified. That said, it is well known that freeze-killed brood assay does not identify varroa sensitive hygienic behavior, so if what is being developed is a broad-based set of hygienic behaviors (including varroa), then this IS very interesting.

If someone can find a link to the the original research paper please post it here.
https://academic.oup.com/gbe/advance-article/doi/10.1093/gbe/evz018/5318327
 

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I am a bit familiar with that study, a bunch of the authors are members of our provincial association and talk about it regularly at our annual and semi annual meetings. For those who go googly eyed reading the academic paper, the essence of the study is fairly strait forward. Two populations of bees, one being selected via traditional methods, the second population being selected via genetic analysis. The ultimate goal of this work is to end up with a method of selection via genetic analysis similar to the methods offered in the cattle industry, and do so in an affordable fashion. Instead of spending hours in the apiary doing things like freeze tests etc, just take a sample and send it off to the lab with 25 bucks. A week later get back a printout with a detailed analysis of the expectations for that sample. They aren't there yet, but that is the ultimate goal.

Some of the population of queens selected via genetic analysis are being propogated on an island where they are isolated from the general population, we regularly do drinks at our association meeting with the beekeeper in charge of that apiary. There are other apiaries around the province where folks are participating by putting the project queens into production colonies and monitoring progress year over year. Yet others are being monitored and sampled to build up the database from which traits can be correlated with the genetics.

It's a really good project, and when the issue of providing funding comes up at our Annual meeting each year, it will pass with a unanimous vote. Thing is, it's basic raw research still, wont provide magic bullet answers next week, but it's already made great progress. Talking with Leonard Foster (project lead) at various meetings, altho the papers today are focussed on hygenic behaviour, they are tracking many other traits and getting better correlations for those traits as well over time. The ultimate goal is to end up with a system where a sample can be submitted from a colony, and a week later beekeeper gets a printout with scoring on numerous traits for that sample. Honey production, hygenic behavior, defensiveness, etc, all detailed out in one summary.
 

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grozzie2

Very much appreciate the synopsis you provided!! I sure wish I had access to folks like that...

Would you happen to know if their work, either currently or planned, touches on varroa sensitive behavior? This could be a huge leap forward to making bees better able to handle mites.
 

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Check out this blog entry from Allison McAfee:

https://alisonmcafeeblogs.wordpress...ocial-immunity-traits-one-massive-experiment/

It's a very good description of the project, in layman's terms, written by somebody doing the drudgery of data collection for a number of years.

She was a PHD student in Leonard Foster's lab where most of this work is being done. She recently completed her PHD and has moved on. CV on her blog site says now a post doc fellow at North Carolina State, but the work address is still listed as an office at UBC, so not sure what that is about.

In one of her talks a couple years ago, she addressed a lot of the shortcomings of freeze kill assays, and how she was working around those shortcomings with respect to VSH. She started with a modified Nicot cage, then instead of freeze killing brood, went in from behind and injected various compounds into the brood without killing it. Thru that method she was able to identify which compound produced the odors that trigger VSH behaviour in the colony by getting them to uncap and remove brood the same as if there was a mite present. It was a fascinating talk. If you want a really heavy read on VSH, the CV page on her blog site links to her PHD dissertation which was all about studying VSH.
 

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If you want a really heavy read on VSH, the CV page on her blog site links to her PHD dissertation which was all about studying VSH.
I'd rather have the answers without the work.

So, are the uncapping genes and the grooming genes the same , connected or different?
 

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It seems to me that the hygenic traits help mostly if the mite loads are very light, the hygenic bees keep it that way. If the mites get too much of a foothold, the VSH bees seem to loose too many workers to effectively fight off a massive mite infestation, both to mites and hygenic removals.

I am not certain of this, but my numbers do seem to gybe. I've only run a small % of VSH colonies, so this is just having a feel for my numbers. A more intensive study would perhaps determine any truth to it. It needs quantification by categories of colony strengths and % VSH expression vs. ectopic mite total and vs. alcohol wash mite population extrapolation, with attention paid to month of the year and local bloom duration after the period studied for each colony. Only then can year-long colony dynamics be determined.

Grozzie 2 - please send me a PM re. contacting Dr. McAffee for a copy of her dissertation. Thank you.
 

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I'd rather have the answers without the work.

So, are the uncapping genes and the grooming genes the same , connected or different?
Last I read a few years ago, more than a dozen different genes were "flying in formation" to do the entire effort of detection, uncapping, removal of aborted bee embryo, and removal of adult and baby mites.
 

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It seems to me that the hygenic traits help mostly if the mite loads are very light, the hygenic bees keep it that way. If the mites get too much of a foothold, the VSH bees seem to loose too many workers to effectively fight off a massive mite infestation, both to mites and hygenic removals.

I am not certain of this, but my numbers do seem to gybe. I've only run a small % of VSH colonies, so this is just having a feel for my numbers. A more intensive study would perhaps determine any truth to it. It needs quantification by categories of colony strengths and % VSH expression vs. ectopic mite total and vs. alcohol wash mite population extrapolation, with attention paid to month of the year and local bloom duration after the period studied for each colony. Only then can year-long colony dynamics be determined.
I have a good amount of experience with VSH bees. Not just those being sold as "VSH", which are HIGHLY variable, but bees from a highly reputable source. Part of your comment is true. If a highly infested colony is simply given a VSH queen, it will likely struggle to overcome the infestation. But a relatively mite-free colony given a VSH queen can produce very good yields and remain with low mite levels. I've kept multi-year records of VSH vs good Italian bees and found the two very competitive. This was recorded in a non-migratory environment in the state of VA. One of the main problems facing VSH breeders is the lack of an easy and reliable way to assess the varroa resistance. That is why the information in this thread looks so promising. I'm sure this type of testing is still just a ways off, but I'm hopeful.
 
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