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Submission + - Bee disease breakthrough (bbc.co.uk) 1

moorhens writes: The BBC is describing new research that could save honeybees from the deadly Varroa mite. Unlike other treatments that have to balance the prospect of killing the mites against killing the bees themselves, this uses a genetic switch to turn the mites into their own worst enemy. Worldwide, the Varroa mite has been ravaging honeybee populations, either as a result of direct parasitism or by transmitting viruses. If this research does result in a practical medicine for bees, perhaps this will provide an answer to colony collapse disorder that has been decimating US bees. In Europe, we haven't had CCD (whatever you may read elsewhere), but Varroa alone is enough to wipe out an untreated colony in three years.
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Bee disease breakthrough

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  • This is an interesting approach to controlling pests/parasites. I can envision its use in the treatment of diseases such as malaria. I wonder, though, if the gene that is being regulated is common throughout the arachnid world, would its use also effect spiders, ticks, other mites, etc. negatively. The scientist interviewed mentioned that "it wouldn't target the bees and...any other pollinating insects" but I would be interested to find out more about its uniqueness throughout arthropod genomes.

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