In a Laboratory Test, Chronic Exposure to Imidacloprid Improves Immune Response of Bumble Bees

March 21, 2017

Editor’s Note: The complete study “Chronic exposure to a neonicotinoid increases expression of antimicrobial peptide genes in the bumblebee Bombus impatiens” by William R. Simmons & David R. Angelini is available here.

From: Colby College

Now Collaborators, Professor and Protégé Continue to Explore

By Gerry Boyle ’78


“We got data and we got the answer to the question,” Angelini said of the study published March 21 in the journal Scientific Reports, which is affiliated with the prestigious journal Nature. “The surprising thing scientifically was that we had an effect of pesticide exposure—but in the opposite direction of what we had predicted.”


“We assumed exposing them to the pesticide would cause expression of these antimicrobial peptides, the immune-related genes, to go down,” Simmons said. “In the end, we saw the exact opposite response. They went up.” Why?

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