IRC-funded Scholar's search for 'The Bee Genes' featured in the Irish Times

IRC-funded Scholar Keith Browne's research was featured in the Irish Times last week. His PhD project aims to investigate the genetic and environmental factors that lie behind the ability of native Irish honey bees to tolerate the Varroa mite and resist diseases.

Bees play a vital role in the human food chain, pollinating the plants that provide us with food. Much of the blame for their decline is being placed on the Varroa mite.

“We are trying to do two things: establish a breeding programme with the aim of increasing the amount of honeybees in Ireland that have resistance to Varroa. In doing that, not only do you treat the mite, you give the bees greater disease resistance,” Browne says. “We are also trying to look for any wild Irish bees that might still exist in the environment.”