Scientists are getting to know more about honey bees. Scientists have created the human genome but they are now turning their attention to other species. Genome variation helps us to know about the genetic history and the evolutionary history of the particular species.
Honey bees are very important to mankind since one third of our food is dependent upon pollination by bees and other insects. In recent times there has been a steep fall in the bee population. This steep fall has been caused by climate change, disease and other risk. Therefore understanding the Genome will be a better way to preserve this insect in the future.
Matthew Webster, one of the researchers, in a news release said, “We have used state-of-the-art high-throughput genomics to address these questions, and have identified high levels of genetic diversity in honeybees. In contrast to other domestic species, management of honeybees seems to have increased levels of genetic variation by mixing bees from different parts of the world. The findings may also indicate that high levels of inbreeding are not a major cause of global colony losses.”
The researchers unearthed the fact that bees had evolved from a primeval lineage of cavity-nesting bees. The cavity nesting bees arrived from Asia about 300,000 years ago. The bees spread quickly across Europe and Africa. This is in sharp contrast to the earlier held notion that bees had originated in Africa.
The researcher also identified specific mutation in genes. These mutations are important for adaption to factors like climate and pathogens.
Webster added “This study provides new insights into evolution and genetic adaptation, and establishes a framework for investigating the biological mechanisms behind disease resistance and adaptation to climate, knowledge that could be vital for protecting honeybees in a rapidly changing world,”