Free access
Volume 36, Number 3, July-September 2005
Page(s) 293 - 299
Published online 01 June 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 293-299
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005003

A new method for rearing genetically manipulated honey bee workers

Anne Lene T.O. Aasea, Gro V. Amdama, b, Arne Hagena and Stig W. Omholta

a   Centre for Integrative Genetics and Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, PO Box 5003, 1432 Aas, Norway
b   Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis 95 616, USA

(Received 4 June 2004 - Revised 4 September 2004 - Accepted 17 September 2004; Published online: 1 June 2005)

Abstract - Advanced functional genomic research on the honey bee (Apis mellifera) will require methods that allow researchers to work with bees derived from genetically manipulated embryos. In vitro rearing of honey bees is laborious, and it is often difficult to obtain individuals that span a normal phenotypic range. We present a technique that allows manipulated honey bee eggs to be introduced into hives so the larvae can be reared in a colony setting. Newly laid eggs on removable cell bases were injected with nuclease free H2O, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), or left untreated. They were inserted into specially designed hives where they hatched. Colonies accepted a satisfactory proportion of eggs from all treatment groups (28-53%). Further, a set of physiological and morphological traits (i.e., total protein in the hemolymph, head width, antennal length, and the length of a compound vein) were compared between workers derived from untreated, incubated eggs, and bees that naturally emerged in the hives. No significant differences were found between the groups. Our method therefore overcomes the challenges associated with in vitro rearing.

Key words: Apis mellifera / rearing protocol / laboratory hive / functional genomic research

Corresponding author: Gro V. Amdam

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005