A team of villains and potential perps makes for a dissatisfying explanation,. It hands reporters a messy story to tell. That’s how it goes some times, but to have a clear and singular cause would make for simpler story telling. The heart of the news may not concern bees as much as the use of whole-genome microarrays to look for genes and gene products that seem unusual. Thus it is an example of benefit of the field of metagenomics generally and specifically from having sequenced the entire honey bee genome a few years ago. But still: a complex and ambiguous narrative to try to weave.
For a somewhat random example, in the UK The Times‘s Mark Henderson simply tells this murky tale as it is, saying the big news is that the nation’s recent loss of a fifth of its hives “could be caused in part by a virus.” Or, viruses, actually. “Could be” and “in part” don’t have much punch. But they are appropriate here.
- Time Magazine, Bryan Walsh has it under the hed “New Clues in the Mass Death of Bees.” He smartly focuses on the powerful scientific tools that have taken researchers this far.
- BBC – Judith Burns: DNA clue to honey bee death ; After interviewing the lead scientist, Burns dives forthwith into genome arrays and other complexities of the analysis. ,
- AP: New Clue found to disappering honey bees ;
- The Scientist – Bob Grant: Bee calamity clarified ; Includes comments from outside sources, insightful quotes. Good thorough job of reporting. Final line: “…it’s just painfully slow.”
- New Scientist – Priya Shetty : Bee genome gives killer clue to colony collapse disorder;
- Scientific American – Steve Mirsky: Disappearing Bees Have Devastated Ribosomes ;
Other, Barely Related Bee News:
- BBC: Buzz of Excitement over bumblebee ; On a few small British isles, discovery of colonies of the seldom-seen great yellow bumblebee.