GreenLight's honeybee-saving RNA solution named finalist in World Changing Ideas Award
BOSTON, May 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- An RNA-based solution by GreenLight Biosciences designed to protect honeybees from the Varroa destructor mite was named a finalist by Fast Company for its 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards.
This is the first RNA-based solution that directly targets the mites, which have been detected in 90% of U.S. hives and which beekeepers call the primary threat to honeybee colonies today. In field trials, the solution lowers mite levels with strong efficacy compared to a leading chemical pest control.
“The technology at GreenLight, we’re testing it now, and we’ve seen it work,” said Barry Hart, owner of Hart Honey Farms in Georgia. A beekeeper since 1985, Hart said Varroa mites have decimated many of his hives.
GreenLight’s Varroa mite product candidate is currently undergoing tests in several states and is scheduled to be submitted for EPA approval in 2022.
About 3 million commercial honeybee colonies in the United States contribute to pollinating more than 100 crops annually, worth an estimated $15 billion. The Varroa mite repoduces in the same beehive cells as gestating bee larvae, grows up to parasitically feed on honeybees, and while doing so spreads disease, destroying colonies across the globe.
A limited number of chemical treatments are the current weapons in the fight against the Varroa mite. However, the traditional treatments come with side effects that may include bee death. Varroa mites have also developed resistance to several existing traditional chemical pesticides, which also require farmers to wear special protective gear and goggles to apply. GreenLight’s patented RNA technology only requires gloves.
“Crops pollinated by honeybees make up roughly a third of the food eaten by Americans, so declining populations of honeybees could have major consequences for food supply,” said Andrey Zarur, CEO of GreenLight Biosciences. “Our mission is to protect the species safely and effectively, and we are excited by Fast Company’s recognition for our achievements.”
GreenLight and other Fast Company nominees and award winners can be found here.
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