WASHINGTON — A team of international researchers have discovered 27 new, previously unknown viruses in bees.
The finding, published in journal Scientific Reports, could help scientists design strategies to prevent the spread of viral pathogens among these important pollinators.
“Populations of bees around the world are declining, and viruses are known to contribute to these declines,” said David Galbraith, research scientist at Bristol Myers Squibb and a recent Penn State graduate.
“Despite the importance of bees as pollinators of flowering plants in agricultural and natural landscapes and the importance of viruses to bee health, our understanding of bee viruses is surprisingly limited.”
For the study, the team collected samples of DNA and RNA, which is responsible for the synthesis of proteins, from 12 bee species in nine countries across the world to investigate viruses in bees.
They, then, developed a technique that efficiently detected both previously identified and 27 never-seen-before viruses belonging to at least six new families in a single experiment.
Among the new viruses the team identified was one that is similar to a virus that infects plants.
“It is possible that bees may acquire viruses from plants, and could then spread these viruses to other plants, posing a risk to agricultural crops,” said Christina Grozinger, distinguished professor of entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State.
The team also found that some of the viruses exist in multiple bee species — such as in honey bees and in bumble bees.
Galbraith added, “This finding highlights the importance of monitoring bee populations brought into the United States due to the potential for these species to transmit viruses to local pollinator populations.”
Google fined $6.8 billion by EU over Android mobile system
BRUSSELS — European Union antitrust regulators have fined Google a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) on Wednesday and ordered it to stop using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals, a ruling which the United States tech company said it would appeal.
The penalty is nearly double the previous record of $3.7 billion which the US tech company was ordered to pay last year over its online shopping search service.
It represents just over two weeks of revenue for Google parent Alphabet Inc and would scarcely dent its cash reserves of almost $140 billion. But it could add to a brewing trade war between Brussels and Washington.
EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager denied anti-US bias, and said she very much liked the US.
“But the fact is that this has nothing to do with how I feel. Nothing whatsoever. Just as enforcing competition law, we do it in the world, but we do not do it in political context,” she said.
Google said it would appeal the fine.
“Android has created more choice for everyone, not less. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition,” it said.
Ms Vestager’s boss, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, is due to meet US President Donald Trump at the White House next Wednesday in an effort to avert threatened new tariffs on EU cars amid Mr Trump’s complaints over the US trade deficit.Follow @gorkhapost