Eurofins Genomics and the Institute for Bee Research Hohen Neuendorf e.V. join forces, supported by funds of the program “Research for Innovation in Agriculture”.
Eurofins Genomics, the genomics division of the Eurofins Scientific Group and international market leader in genomic services, is the industrial partner of the Institute for Bee Research in Hohen Neuendorf, just north of Berlin. The experts develop a novel breeding method for honey bees.
The goal is to select bees with increased resistance against deadly natural parasites, namely virus infections in combination with a mite (Varroa destructor), which threatens to extinguish honeybees worldwide. The Eurofins Genomics laboratories will initially employ the latest sequencing technology (next generation sequencing) to find small natural changes (SNPs) in the DNA of bees. Based on this, so called SNP chips will be developed to characterise gene variations in bees with known parasite resistance, productivity and gentleness. The identified genetic basis of these positive physical and behavioural traits will, in the future, enable beekeepers to genetically identify the wanted bees, eliminating the need for time consuming selection over many bee-generations.
In addition to the investment of Eurofins Genomics, the project is supported through the program “Research for Innovation in Agriculture” of the Ministry for Food and Agriculture with funds of the “Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank”.
„Through this innovative technology, we will gain detailed insight in the genetic variability of honey bees, an essential basis to guarantee breeding success in the long run”, says the scientific coordinator of the project, Kaspar Bienefeld, professor at the Institute for Bee Research. His research group is dedicated to promote breeding of bees with modern technology, aiming to preserve the precious role of bees for agriculture and plant diversity.
“We at Eurofins Genomics are excited to contribute to the preservation of healthy bee populations and functional ecosystems. We are very happy to help with our long-standing experience in genome wide DNA analysis and latest technologies to overcome challenges in such an important project”, says Dr. Peter Persigehl, General Manager of Eurofins Genomics Europe.