Location: Bee Research Laboratory
Project Number: 8042-21000-291-056-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement
Start Date: Oct 1, 2021
End Date: Sep 30, 2022
The European honeybee, Apis mellifera, plays a vital role in agriculture by providing pollination service to about 100 crop species and contributes $17 billion to the U.S. economy annually. Emerging diseases are among the greatest threats to honeybee health. Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious malady that wiped out bees by the millions in the US in 2006, is an example of an emerging disease with devastating impacts to the beekeeping industry. To increase our preparedness in advance of emerging diseases, we propose using multi-omics technologies and integrating interdisciplinary approaches to unravel the mechanisms underlying disease outbreaks and develop novel control strategies for preventing and controlling diseases in honeybees. This project will involve three efforts. First, a full range of known and novel pathogens and the genetic diversity of pathogens in relation to emerging diseases will be discovered. Second, host global transcriptional patterns indicative of specific disease infections will be identified, and the pathogen and host genetic determinants associated with the emergence of infectious diseases will be defined and characterized. Third, novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies based on pathogen virulence and host susceptibility will be developed and evaluated under both laboratory and field conditions.
Our overall goal is to use multi-omics technologies and integrating interdisciplinary approaches to unravel the mechanisms underlying new emerging disease outbreaks and develop novel control strategies for preventing and controlling diseases in honeybees. We will accomplish this broad objective by fulfilling the following specific research objectives: OBJECTIVE I: To develop a deeper understanding of microbial communities in honeybees and identify known and novel pathogens and patterns that are indicative of potential emerging diseases. OBJECTIVE II: To gain a deep understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying disease emergence and identify novel targets for developing therapeutic countermeasures for emerging infectious diseases. OBJECTIVE III: To develop new and improved strategies for diagnosis, prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases.