Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/14/2010
Publication Date: 6/16/2010
Citation: Hunter, W.B., Ellis, J., Vanengelsdrop, D., Hayes, J., Westervelt, D., Williams, M., Sela, I., Maori, E., Pettis, J.S., Cox-Foster, D., Paldi, N. 2010. Preventing bee mortality with RNA interference [abstract]. National Citrus Research Coordination Symposium, June 16-18, 2010, Denver, Colorado. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: We present a real world example of the successful use of an RNAi product for disease control. RNAi increased bee health in the presence of the bee viral pathogen, IAPV. The importance of honey bees to the world economy far surpasses their contribution in terms of honey production; they are responsible for 10-30% of the world’s food production through pollination. Since fall 2006, honey bees in the U.S. have faced a serious population decline due to a phenomenon call Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which is a disease caused by the interaction of two or more agents. Data from an initial study in which investigators compared pathogens in honey bees affected by CCD suggested a putative role for Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, IAPV. Subsequent studies, with IAPV have shown it to cause honeybee mortality. IAPV is a single stranded RNA virus with no DNA stage placed taxonomically within the family Dicistroviridae. RNA interference technology (RNAi) has been used successfully to silence endogenous insect (including honey bee) genes both by injection and feeding. Previously, RNAi was used successfully to prevent bees from succumbing to infection from IAPV in the lab. This study used IAPV specific homologous dsRNA to successfully improve the health of bees infected with IAPV over 160 honey bee hives in two discrete climates, seasons and geographical locations (Florida and Pennsylvania). This is the first successful large-scale application which demonstrates that RNAi approaches have a place in disease control.