Document Type



Over the past few years, honeybee populations (Apis mellifera) have drastically decreased due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD occurs when most of the honeybees abandon their hive and queen, and do not return. Around the same time CCD became commonly identified, commercial beekeepers switched the bee’s food from sucrose to a less expensive, but more processed substitute of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), suggesting there might be a relationship between the types of food and CCD. Therefore, the goal of this project is to identify changes in carbohydrate metabolism due to HFCS. To determine these changes, gene expression was measured within the glycolysis and gluconeogenesis pathways. For seven days, bees from 9 hives were fed honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn syrup (CS), and sucrose. After termination, mRNA was extracted and cDNA synthesized for Quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis with SYBR green to detect changes in expression for 14 genes in these pathways. In the glycolysis pathway, the enzymes glucokinase (GK1), phosphofructokinase (PFK), triose phosphate isomerase (TPS1), pyruvate kinase (PK2) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDHA) were down-regulated in HFCS compared to honey. Further, when bees were fed CS, they down-regulated most of the genes that are down-regulated in HFCS. However, these genes were not changed when bees were fed sucrose. For genes in both glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, gene expression did not change when given HFCS. This was also observed for genes in just gluconeogenesis. In summary, HFCS and CS diets both lead to down-regulated genes specific to the glycolysis pathway when compared to honey.



Thesis Comittee

Jonathan Roling (Thesis Director)

Caitlin Fisher-Reid

Michael Carson

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

Included in

Biology Commons