The many benefits of hygienic selection

Our new collaborative work with the group of Victoria Soroker of the Agricultural Research Organization in Israel is showing that selection for hygienic behavior in honey bees has multiple benefits. Not only is social immunity enhanced, but this also translates into lower Varroa mite loads and better individual immunity.

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In my first large in-person conference since the COVID pandemic, our lab was well represented, co-organizing a symposium, and contributing 3 talks and 1 poster presentation! Lots of social insect discussion and fun in San Diego as well…

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New publication

I am happy to report that our analysis of the microbiome of high royal jelly bees in collaboration with the Raymann lab at UNCG and guest researcher Han Bin from the Institute of Apicultural Research of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences has been published with graduate student Megan Damico as lead author:

High royal jelly production does not impact the gut microbiome of honey bees

Interestingly, the environment (urban vs. rural) did have an effect on the gut microbiome!

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Happy ending of a long-term project

A very long-term project comes finally to a happy ending in the form of a publication. It started with a trip to Borneo with Niko Koeniger, sparking my interest in the Asian honey bees. The genomes of Apis dorsata and Apis florea followed, and now we have them finally analyzed for signatures of selection that might give us some hypotheses about the evolutionary differentiation among the three principal honey bee clades and adaptations that might have occurred during the common evolution of honey bees. I am so glad and want to thank everyone who was involved, including Robert Page who introduced me to Niko!

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