In the wake of widespread declines in bee populations, farmers and beekeepers are wondering who exactly is going to pollinate that third of the world's food crops which require pollination. The declines have been attributed to pesticides, parasites and climate change.
In Europe one response has been to phase out a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. The phase-out has coincided with a revival of bee populations. But pesticides are clearly not the only factor affecting bee health.
Another response has been to consider building a better bee. Enter the geneticists. Why not genetically engineer honeybees to resist those things which are undermining their health?