The idea that if “honeybees go extinct, we will soon follow” is a touch hyperbolic at best. But recent colony collapses and a steady decline in the honeybee population due to disease, climate change, and insecticide use is a major concern. Honeybees are responsible for around no less than 33% o the pollination of fruits, vegetables, and nuts that we as humans cultivate and eat and they are a major force in offering food security to nearly every part of the world.For years, it would have been very difficult to find a scientist that would have been willing to say that the honeybee came from anywhere but Africa but this latest study seriously makes that argument difficult to put forward.
Honeybees originated in Asia not Africa
“The evolutionary tree we constructed from genome sequences does not support an origin in Africa, this gives us new insight into how honeybees spread and became adapted to habitats across the world,” said Matthew Webster, researcher at the department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University.”We have used state-of-the-art high-throughput genomics to address these questions, and have identified high levels of genetic diversity in honeybees,” said Webster. “In contrast to other domestic species, management of honeybees seems to have increased levels of genetic variation by mixing bees from different parts of the world. The findings may also indicate that high levels of inbreeding are not a major cause of global colony losses.”
Wide ranging study
This conclusion was arrived at after sequencing the genomes of nearly 150 honeybees from 14 populations in the United States, Brazil, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.”This study provides new insights into evolution and genetic adaptation, and establishes a framework for investigating the biological mechanisms behind disease resistance and adaptation to climate, knowledge that could be vital for protecting honeybees in a rapidly changing world,” said Webster.This study will certainly help in keeping the all important honeybee around so that we in turn can also stick around a little longer.