Pesticides cause epigenetic changes in honey bees, compromising immune system.

bee pollenA study from Pennsylvania State University may explain why pesticides have wiped out the bee population in the last few years.

Researchers have demonstrated that pesticides cause large changes in the expression of genes involved in detoxification, immunity and nutrition-sensing in .

were fed either miticidal, coumaphos or fluvalinate pesticides for a period of seven days and significant changes in 1,118 strands of were detected in the experimental group. The impacted genes are involved in detoxification, behavioral maturation, immunity, and nutrition. Those who consumed a diet of natural, high quality pollen exhibited greater resistance to pesticides’ deleterious effects than on an artificial diet.

The study demonstrated a dose dependent response to pesticides and a specific pollen diet at the genetic level. When were fed a pollen based diet while simultaneously exposing them to a lethal dose of the , chlorpyrifos, those fed a pollen-based diet exhibit reduced sensitivity to chlorpyrifos.

“This interaction between exposure and nutrition is likely what’s at play in our finding that feeding a complex diet of pollen –their natural diet– makes them significantly more resistant to lethal doses of a than feeding them a more simple, artificial diet,” said Daniel Schmehl, postdoctoral researcher at Penn State and lead author of the study.

Source

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022191014001978

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