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Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 19;6:24664. doi: 10.1038/srep24664.

The effects of Bt Cry1Ie toxin on bacterial diversity in the midgut of Apis mellifera ligustica (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

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Ministry Key Laboratory of Pollinating Insect Biology, Institute of Apicultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.
State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100193, China.


The honey bee has been regarded as a key species in the environmental risk assessment of biotech crops. Here, the potential adverse effects of Cry1Ie toxin on the midgut bacteria of the worker bees (Apis mellifera ligustica) were investigated under laboratory conditions. Newly emerged bees were fed with different concentrations of Cry1Ie toxin syrups (20 ng/mL, 200 ng/mL, and 20 μg/mL), pure sugar syrup, and 48 ppb of imidacloprid syrups, then sampled after 15 and 30 d. We characterized the dominant midgut bacteria and compared the composition and structure of the midgut bacterial community in all samples using the Illumina MiSeq platform targeting the V3-V4 regions of 16S rDNA. No significant differences in the diversity of the midgut bacteria were observed between the five treatments. This work was the first to show the effects of Cry1Ie toxin on honey bees, and our study provided a theoretical basis for the biosafety assessment of transgenic Cry1Ie maize.

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