Population genetics and distribution of Nosema ceranae N. apis in the United States

Justin Whitaker is conducting MS research on population genetics and distribution of N. ceranae and N. apis in New York, South Dakota, and Turkey. Nosema ceranae is an invasive pathogen of honey bees and could be a factor in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).


Whitaker, J.*, A.L. Szalanski, and M. Kence. 2010. Molecular detection of Nosema ceranae from Turkish honey bees. Apidologie (in press).

Abstract: Polymerase chain reaction specific for the rDNA marker for Nosema ceranae and Nosema apis was conducted on 84 Apis mellifera samples collected from 20 provinces in Turkey. N. ceranae was detected from three samples from the provinces of Artvin, Hatay, and Mug ̆la. N. apis was detected in samples from the provinces of Sivas, Izmir, Bitlis and Gaziantep. All of the positive samples were from honey bees belonging to the ‘C’ lineage of A. mellifera. DNA sequencing analysis of the N. ceranae samples revealed that there was no intraspecific variation in the 208 bp of the 16S SSU of N. ceranae from Turkey. A TCS analysis revealed that the 16S SSU genotype from Turkey is identical to N. ceranae DNA sequences from Europe, Australia, and the United States. TCS analysis also revealed that this genotype is the basal ancestral genotype among six N. ceranae genotypes. This is the first study to confirm that N. ceranae is present in honey bees from Turkey.

New York

Szalanski, A.L., J. Whitaker, and P. Cappy. 2010. Molecular diagnostics of Nosema ceranae and N. apis from honey bees in New York. Proceedings of the American Bee Research Conference, American Bee Journal 150: 508.

Molecular diagnostics of the invasive honey bee pathogens, Nosema ceranae and N. apis, was conducted on honey bees from New York. A total of 1200 honey bee samples were collected by NYSDAM bee inspectors, of which, 528 (44%), from 49 counties had a positive Nosema spore count. Spore counts were the highest in the Spring and decreased into the Fall. PCR genetic analysis on 371 spore positive sampled revealed that 96% were N. ceranae, 3% had both N. ceranae and N. apis, and 1% had N. apis. Nosema ceranae was more common in commercial operations relative to sideliner and hobbyist beekeepers. A preliminary molecular phylogenetic analysis of N. ceranae from New York revealed that it is identical to N. ceranae from Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Europe and Australia.

Interactive map of N. ceranae in the US (except NY)

Map of N. ceranae and N. apis in New York

Agarose Gel showing PCR product specific for Nosema apis