Martin Beye, a professor at the University of Düsseldorf, Germany and a former postdoctoral fellow in Page's lab at UC Davis, served as the lead author of the research, “Improving Genetic Transformation Rates in Honeybees,” published in Scientific Reports in the journal Nature.
The work was accomplished in Beye's lab in Germany and the Page labs.
“The significance of this paper lies in the ability to modify the chromosomes of honey bees and study the effects of individual genes,” said Page, former professor and chair of the UC Davis entomology department before capping his academic career as the Arizona State University provost.
“The honey bee genome,” Page explained, “is composed of about 15,000 genes, each of which operates within a complex network of genes, doing its small, or large, share of work in building the bee, keeping its internal functions operating, or helping it function and behave in its environment. The ability to transform, change, genes, or add or delete genes from chromosomes of bees, has been exceptionally challenging and the effort spans decades. Martin tackles problems such as this. He takes on the most challenging genetic problems and solves them.”
Beye was the first to map the major sex-determining gene for honey bees, considered one of the most important papers ever published on honey bee genetics. He “then moved on and developed a way to implement gene editing, being able to alter single genes within the genome,” Page related. “Now he has developed a method to introduce new genetic material into the honey bee.”
In their abstract, the six-member team wrote that “Functional genetic studies in honeybees have been limited by transformation tools that lead to a high rate of transposon integration into the germline of the queens. A high transformation rate is required to reduce screening efforts because each treated queen needs to be maintained in a separate honeybee colony. Here, we report on further improvement of the transformation rate in honeybees by using a combination of different procedures.”
Specifically, the geneticists employed a hyperactive transposase protein (hyPBaseapis), tripling the amount of injected transposase mRNAs. They injected embryos into the first third (anterior part) of the embryo. These three improvements together doubled the transformation rate from 19 percent to 44 percent.
“We propose that the hyperactive transposase (hyPBaseapis) and the other steps used may also help to improve the transformation rates in other species in which screening and crossing procedures are laborious,” they wrote in their abstract.
For their research, the scientists chose feral Carniolan or carnica colonies. Carniolans, a darker bee, are a subspecies of the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera.
Beye joined the Page lab in 1999 as the recipient of a Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship, an award given to the brightest young German Ph.Ds to provide an opportunity for them to work in the laboratories of U.S. recipients of the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize. Page, who won the Humboldt Prize in 1995, continues to focus his research on honey bee behavior and population genetics, particularly the evolution of complex social behavior.
Following his postdoctoral fellowship, Beye returned to the Page labs at UC Davis and ASU as a visiting scientist. (link to https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/honeybee-gene-find-ends-150-year-search ) Beye spoke at UC Davis this spring as part of his Humboldt-funded mini sabbatical, the guest of Page and hosted by the Department of Entomology and Nematology. During his visit, he and UC Davis bee scientist Brian Johnson developed collaborative projects that they will begin in the spring of 2019. “This is exactly what the Alexander von Humboldt foundation wants – to build and extend interactive networks of researchers,” Page commented.
Steve Nadler, chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will present the award at Page's seminar on Thursday, Nov. 29 at the International House, 10 College Park, Davis. A reception begins at 3 p.m., followed by his 4 p.m. seminar, titled "In Search of the Spirit of the Hive: a 30-Year Quest."
Page, provost emeritus of Arizona State University (ASU) and Regents Professor since 2015, continues his research, teaching and public service in both Arizona and California and has residences in both states.
Page, who relates he will be "officially retiring and living in California" in December, maintained a honey bee breeding program managed by bee breeder-geneticist Kim Fondrk at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis, for 24 years, from 1989 to 2015.
Page focuses his research on honey bee behavior and population genetics, particularly the evolution of complex social behavior. One of his most salient contributions to science was to construct the first genomic map of the honey bee, which sparked a variety of pioneering contributions not only to insect biology but to genetics at large.
Page and his lab pioneered the use of modern techniques to study the genetic bases to the evolution of social behavior in honey bees and other social insects. He was the first to employ molecular markers to study polyandry and patterns of sperm use in honey bees. He provided the first quantitative demonstration of low genetic relatedness in a highly eusocial species.
He continues to work on how reproductive regulatory networks are altered by natural selection for division of labor in honey bees. “It was a controversial proposal when Gro Amdam (his former postdoc at UC Davis) and I first proposed it, but I think it is now an excepted paradigm and has been shown have occurred in different species of social and non-social Hymenoptera.”
Born and reared in Bakersfield, Kern County, Page received his bachelor's degree in entomology, with a minor in chemistry, from San Jose State University in 1976. After receiving his doctorate from UC Davis, he began his career at The Ohio State University, in 1986 and then returned to Davis in 1989 to accept an associate professor position in 1989. He served as department chair from 1999 to 2004, when he was recruited to be the founding director of the School of Life Sciences of ASU. His career advanced to dean of Life Sciences; vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and provost.
He considers his most far-reaching and important accomplishment, the success of his mentees, including at least 25 graduate students and postdocs who are now faculty members at leading research institutions around the world. He also built two modern apicultural labs (in Ohio and Arizona), major legacies that are centers of honey bee research and training.
Among his many honors:
- Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
- Awardee of the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award (the Humboldt Prize - the highest honor given by the German government to foreign scientists).
- Foreign Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.
- Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- Elected to the Leopoldina - the German National Academy of Sciences (the longest continuing academy in the world)
- Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.
- Fellow of the Entomological Society of America.
- Awardee of the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Fellowship.
- Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.
- Fellow, Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation, Munich, Germany, September 2017-August 2018
The Leigh seminar memorializes cotton entomologist Thomas Frances Leigh (1923-1993), an international authority on the biology, ecology and management of arthropod pests affecting cotton production. During his 37-year UC Davis career, based at the Shafter Research and Extension Center, also known as the U.S. Cotton Research Station, Leigh researched pest and beneficial arthropod management in cotton fields, and host plant resistance in cotton to insects, mites, nematodes and diseases.
In his memory, his family and associates established the Leigh Distinguished Alumni Seminar Entomology Fund at the UC Davis Department of Entomology. When his wife, Nina, passed in 2002, the alumni seminar became known as the Thomas and Nina Distinguished Alumni Seminar.
For reservations or more information, contact Nicole Brunn at email@example.com.
In partnership with the UC Davis-based Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS), UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and Oregon State University, the USDA's Specialty Crop Multi-State Program is funding the grant to support food safety and honey bee health through veterinary education. WIFSS is associated with the School of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Joining Niño on the project are two School of Veterinary affiliates, project leader Bennie Osburn, former dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, and collaborator Jonathan Dear, assistant professor of clinical medicine and epidemiology, Department of Medicine and Epidemiology; and state partner collaborator Ramesh Sagili, associate professor at Oregon State University.
“California regulations stipulate that veterinarians participate in continuing education that addresses antimicrobial stewardship,” commented Dear. “The Veterinary Feed Directive that's at the heart of the new interaction between veterinarians and beekeepers is all part of this renewed emphasis on stewardship.”
The nearly $500,000 grant is part of $7 million in funding announced April 30 to support 11 projects in six states to develop solutions to challenges affecting the specialty crop industries that cross state boundaries. The Specialty Crop Multi-State Program manages the grants, which are administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service.
“Honey bees play a dual role in the production of specialty crops,” Niño wrote in the abstract. “They produce honey, classified as a specialty crop, and they are the primary managed pollinators for a majority of high value specialty crops grown in the contiguous states of California and Oregon. Currently, annual colony losses are unacceptably high due to a variety of environmental and biological causes including bacterial diseases. Historically, beekeepers have self-prescribed antibiotics to control these diseases. However, the Food and Drug Administration and the State of California have taken steps to address antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial use in the feed or water of food-producing animals.
Osburn and Dear noted that “Currently, veterinary schools are lagging in adopting curricula focused on apiculture. This project will offer a comprehensive bee biology online course and train-the-trainer practical training for veterinarians and apiculture educators with the ultimate goal of supporting safety and security of specialty crops that depend on honey bees for production.”
The WIFSS mission “is to serve the global community by conducting research, developing training, and providing outreach programs that will enhance the health and security of people, animals, and the environment.”
In announcing the funding, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach said: “The best way to tackle many of the biggest challenges in food safety and to promote markets is to make it easier for a lot of stakeholders to work together. USDA's Specialty Crop Multi-State Program provides the grease to help them leverage state and private sector resources across state lines—especially the knowledge and experience of farmers and the agricultural industry.”
Ibach said SCMP strengthens food safety; seeks new ways to address plant pests, disease, and other crop-specific issues; and increases marketing opportunities for specialty crops—fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and dried fruits to horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. USDA competitively awards funds to state departments of agriculture that partner with stakeholder organizations in two or more states.
Among the other awards announced:
- The University of California and Oregon State University for a pest and plant health project to optimize phasmarhabditis nematodes for mitigating invasive gastropods in the western United States. Awarded $770,356.
- USDA's Agricultural Research Service, Washington State University and the University of California, Davis for a pest and plant health project to better understand esca trunk disease in multiple grape-production systems.Awarded $348,991.
The second annual California Honey Festival, sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the City of Woodland, will offer scores of entertainment and educational activities and food and drink from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 5 in downtown Woodland. It's a free, family friendly event.
The festival was created in 2017 to cultivate an interest in beekeeping, and to educate the public in support of bees and their keepers, said Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center. "Bees face many threats today—it is the goal of the festival to help attendees understand the importance of bees to food diversity in the United States. "
The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping. Through lectures and demonstrations, the crowd can learn about bees and how to keep them healthy. Issues facing the bees include pests, pesticides, diseases, malnutrition, and climate changes.
One of the highlights: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, California's state apiculturist, and a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, will be "opening a bee hive to show attendees just how a bee hive works," said Harris. "The intriguing catch? The hive will be full of bees!"
At the festival, the crowd can also learn what to plant in their gardens to feed the bees and other pollinators. Honey bees pollinate one-third of the American diet. Proceeds garnered at the festival will benefit bee and pollinator non-profit organizations involved in research and education.
Restaurants will offer creative and tasty honey centric menus throughout the week, officials said. Bars will offer a selection of mixed drinks with mead or honey and local breweries will include honey beers on tap.
UC Davis Stage
The UC Davis Stage will be a beehive of activity. The schedule:
10:30 a.m.: Gene Brandi, past president of the American Beekeeping Federation, speaking on "Beekeeping and Honey Production in California"
11:15 a.m.: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, live bee demonstration in the bee tent
11:45 a.m: James Sherman, chief operating officer of Pollinator.org, speaking on "Protecting Bees and All Pollinators at Home and on the Farm--What Can You Do?"
12:45 p.m.: Frank Golbeck, chief administrative officer of Golden Coast Mead
1 p.m.: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, live bee demonstration in the bee tent
1:45 p.m. John Mola, winner of the 2018 Bee Symposium Graduate Student Poster Contest, speaking on"Where do Bees Go and How Do We Know?"
2:15 p..m.: World-class garden designer and author Kate Frey, speaking on "How to Design Bee-Friendly Gardens." She is the co-author the popular book, The Bee Friendly Garden, with Professor Gretchen LeBuhn of UC San Francisco
3:45 p.m.: Billy Synk, director of Pollination Programs, Project Apis M, speaking on "California Almonds an the Upper Midwest"
3:45 p.m.: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, live bee demonstration in the bee tent
Other activities will include the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology's insect petting zoo and displays; educational displays spotlighting honey bees, honey, bee hives, bee health and the life cycle of honey bees; a 7-foot Honey Wheel and honey tastings; bee costumes for kids and adults, and information on the California Master Beekeeper Program, operated by Elina Lastro Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.
Honey? It's there in all the cooking demonstrations:
Fire Brothers will prepare Smokey Chipotle Sauce a chicken street taco marinated with honey, served with a “honey slaw” and topped with Fire Brothers' Smoky Chipotle Sauce
11:30 to 12:15:
Mason Partak will prepare Honey Corn Bread Cobbler
Mani Niall will prepare honey and mustard vinaigrette, a savory rosemary semolina scone and chocolate mead truffles
1:30 to 2:15
Cache Creek: dish pending
Santana Diaz will prepare UC Davis Honey-Strawberry and Spring Pepper Vinaigrette, and UC Davis Honey-Rosemary and Apricot Chicken
Father Paddy's will prepare Justin Severson appetizer: honey almond panco crusted prawns main dish: honey soy-glazed chicken breast both herb basmati rice and daily vegetables dessert: bacon vanilla ice cream honey sundae with butterscotch crack nut cookies cocktail: and honey bourbon smash.
Busy Bee Kids' Zone
The "Busy Bee Kids' Zone" is billed as fun and educational insights for all. The Woodland Library holds the first slot, 11 to 11:45; Uncle Jer from 12 to 12:45; Planet Bee from 1 to 1:45; Uncle Jer from 2 to 2:45; Dilly Dally from 3 to 3:45, and Planet Bee from 4 to 4:45.
Plaza Main Stage Music
Entertainers will perform throughout the day.
10 to 11: Gold Souls
The Gold Souls will offer driving grooves of funk, the rich textures of soul, and the compelling storytelling of the blues. Launched in early 2017, the band combines their many influences to create a unique sound. This effort came to fruition with the release and tour of their self-titled EP last May.
11:30 12:30: City of Trees Brass Band
Over the last three years, City of Trees Brass Band has canvased Sacramento and San Francisco in an effort to deliver the spirit of New Orleans to the West Coast. Compiling 1,200 hours of street performance, dozens of educational clinics, and many inspirational assemblies for K-12th graders, the Brass Band takes pride in its contribution to Sacramento-area culture. In the ultimate test of brass and brawn, the Trees took a two-week trip to New Orleans where they said, "we discovered our sound not only holds up to the standards of the Crescent City, it belongs there."
1 to 2: The Sam Chance and the Untraditional
The Sam Chase and The Untraditional is described as "blending rock n 'roll and folk music while maintaining the sensibilities and attitudes from growing up on a healthy diet of punk rock." This band has performed at festivals such as Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, High Sierra Music Festival, and Kate Wolf Music Festival.
2:30 3:30: Cameron Calloway
Named The “Soul Child” by COACHELLA Magazine, Black/Filipino rhythm and blues singer Cameron Calloway is described as "a man of soul based in the heart of Sin City." The soul singer performed at the 5th annual Life Is Beautiful Music Festival, sharing the bill with chart topping acts including Chance The Rapper, Lorde, Muse, Gorillaz, Blink 182. aHe has performed with the likes of Grammy-nominated r&b/hip-hop band The Internet; soul sensation Allen Stone; Emily King; Mayer Hawthorne; multi award winning group Dru Hill; Robert Randolph and The Family Band;and The Stone Foxes. He also sang at tje11th Annual Joshua Tree Music Festival. He recently released his debut EP “My Neighborhood,” available on Spotify and Apple Music.
4 to 5: Mojo Green
This is a 7-piece, female-fronted, horn-heavy funk from Reno. They pride themselves on high energy and being "one of the funkiest live shows around." They have performed at tje Mateel Music Fest, Hangtown Halloween, For The Funk Of It, Squaw Valley Funk Fest, The Bounce, Ridgestock, Burning Man, Guitarfish, Enchanted Forest Gathering, Off Beat Music Fest-, Spookadelic Halloween Funktacular, Nugget Rib Cook Off, Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Lake Tahoe's Grand Opening, Sandpoint Summerfest, Concerts At Commons Beach,and Live at Lake View Tahoe, among others.
Mead and wineries featured are Strad in Sac, Honey Run, Gold Coast Mead, Nectar Creek, Crystal Basin Cellars and Running Rivers Wine Cellars
Breweries serving: Yolo Brewing, Lagunitas, Sudwerk and Blue Note.
Live Music in the Beer Garden
The schedule includes:
1: Boot Juice
2:30: Michael Ray
4: Elisa Sun
Judges were Tom Seeley, professor at Cornell University, the symposium's keynote speaker; speaker Santiago Ramirez, assistant professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis, and native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor at UC Davis. Master beekeeper/journalist Mea McNeil of San Anselmo served as the timer and coordinator for the panel.
“In conservation biology and ecological study, we must know the distances organisms travel and the scales over which they go about their lives,” Mola said of his work. “To properly conserve species, we have to know how much land they need, how close those habitats need to be to each other, and the impact of travel on species success. For instance, if I'm told there's free burritos in the break room, I'm all over it. If the 'free' burritos require me traveling to Scotland, it's not worth it and I would spend more energy (and money) than I would gain. For pollinators, it's especially important we understand their movement since the distances they travel also dictates the quality of the pollination service they provide to crop and wild plants."
Second place of $600 went to Maureen Page, a second-year Ph.D. student in Neal Williams lab for her research, “Impacts of Honey Bee Abundance on the Pollination of Eschscholzia californica (California golden poppy).”
Page presented her research on the impacts of honey bee abundance on native plant pollination. “While honey bees are economically important, they are not native to North America and may have negative impacts on native bees and native plant communities in certain contexts,” she related. “My research is ongoing, but preliminary results suggest that honey bee abundance may negatively affect the pollination of California poppies.”
In her abstract, Page wrote: "Many studies support the claim that introduced honey bees compete with native pollinators. However, little is known about how honey bee introductions will affect native plant communities and plant species' persistence."
Page received her bachelor's degree in biology from Scripps College, Claremont, Calif. in 2006, cum laude. She seeks a career as a professor and principal investigator.
Two graduate students tied for fourth place and each received $250: doctoral student Jacob Francis of the University of Nevada, for his “A Sweet Solution to the Pollen Paradox: Nectar Mediates Bees' Responses to Defended Pollen” and Katie Uhl, a master's student, UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology, for her “Determination of Volatile Organic Compounds in Mono-Floral Honey Using HS-SPME/GC/MS." Francis studies with major professor Anne Leonard of Ecology, Evoluiton and Conservation Biology. Uhl's major professor is Alyson Mitchell.
Also honored was Kimberly Chacon, a doctoral student in the UC Davis Geography Graduate Group who studies with Professor Steve Greco for her “A Landscape Ecology Approach to Bee Conservation and Habitat Design." She received $150.
The annual Bee Symposium, themed "Keeping Bees Healthy, " is sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, headed by director Amina Harris, and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, chaired by nematologist and professor Steve Nadler.
Harris and Professor Neal Williams of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, who serves as the center's faculty co-chair, emceed the symposium. The symposium drew a crowd of 250 from across the country.