Antibiotic Resistance Killing Off Bees

 

Yale Daily News  By Emma Goldberg  11/6/12

Yale researchers have identified a potential culprit in a nationwide increase of honeybee deaths — resistance to an important antibiotic.

In the Oct. 30 issue of the mBio journal, Yale professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Nancy Moran published a study showing that beneficial bacteria found in the guts of honeybees have acquired genes that make bees resistant to tetracycline, an antibiotic used to prevent colony-destroying infections and other bacterial diseases. Moran’s research identified eight tetracycline-resistant genes in American honeybees that were absent in honeybee populations where such antibiotic treatment is banned, suggesting that use of tetracycline has genetically altered beneficial bacteria and made colonies more prone to infection.

“We noticed that the [first] colony collapses happened in 2006, which is when the antibiotic was first introduced...

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