Location: Bee Research Laboratory2011 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
This study proposes to address the biology of one of the most important agricultural species by providing an inclusive reference metagenomic dataset for the honey bee microbiota across different life stages, geography and disease states. ARS is interested in defining and regulating microbes that impact honey bee colony health. The Cooperator is interested in the physiological impacts of microbes on insects and on determining genomic traits in microbes that impact insect-microbe interactions and their affects on insect nutrition. The genomic resources from this project will be used by a large community of basic and applied investigators. This project will contribute valuable information for efforts to safeguard honey bee health.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
ARS and the Cooperator will generate this genomic resource by staging controlled experiments, soliciting bees, and isolating genetic material for 1) high-throughput DNA sequencing, 2) comparisons with existing metagenomic databases and resources from honey bees, and 3) follow-up assays of microbial associations with and impacts on healthy and diseased bees. The ARS Bee Research Laboratory will be responsible for sample collection and purification in order to develop a combined pool of DNA and RNA for genomic analyses. We will also process two distinct honey bee samples for Roche GS-FLX Titanium sequencing runs and provide expertise to the cooperator on honey bee physiology and pathology.
3. Progress Report
The goal of this research is to determine the direct and indirect effects of gut bacteria on honey bee and bumble bee health, and is directly related to project objectives to manage diseases and pests afflicting honey bee colonies. Current efforts have led to bacterial isolations from approximately 100 samples across several colonies from the Bee Research Lab apiaries. These samples will be subjected to high-throughput sequencing and culturing attempts in order to determine importance for bees. In this year we improved techniques for collecting and shipping bees containing live bacteria, and generated baseline data on the bacterial components of honey bee guts.