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Here is a really fascinating interview with Dr. Michael D. Simone-Finstrom of the USDA-ARS on the subject of transgenerational immune priming- the idea that queens and drones can confer viral resistance or tolerance on to their offspring:


This emerging field of study suggests another important aspect of epigenetics in the resistance / tolerance paradigm.

 

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Interesting study shared with me by Dr. Kefuss explores vertical viral transmission between queens and their offspring:


One of the more counterintuitive findings from the research:

In contrast to what was expected, both the infection frequency of DWV and the infection load in the eggs of queens from TMCs decreased with increasing queen age. This difference is not caused by the mortality of queens with high infection loads, as the distribution of the egg infection loads does not overlap between queens aged 0 years and 1 year. Queens from NSCs showed the same trends in infection loads across all queen ages but did not show differences in infection frequencies. For BQCV, only the infection load was significantly lower in queens aged 0 years than in queens aged 1 year from TMCs. In beekeeping practices, queens are often renewed yearly, as young queens are associated with lower winter mortality [66,102]. This study suggests that older queens from colonies that are treated against the Varroa mite might be able to adapt their antiviral responses to DWV and thereby reduce the infection loads transmitted via their eggs. If so, the frequent renewal of queens could limit this potential as opposed to selecting towards increased queen longevity.
 
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