4. Conclusions and outlook

The knowledge base of modern infection biology has been built upon a foundation of cell culture systems, from which most cell culture techniques are now taken for granted in many scientific disciplines.  Unfortunately, honey bee pathology is lacking an established, vigorously dividing, immortal cell line for use by the larger research community. The absence of permanent bee cell lines has motivated many researchers to develop alternative systems, or to use primary cultures within the short time frame of their viability. These approaches, however suitable, will be surpassed by development of continuous honey bee cell lines. The few reports of cultured honey bee cells (Barbara et al., 2008; Bergem et al., 2006; Hunter, 2010; Lynn, 2001), and those from other hymenopterans continues to increase. These advances in cell culture methodologies, as well as our increasing understanding of bee cell requirements and responses to current media components through genomic analyses continues to push the field towards the development of new cell lines for a wide range of hymenopteran species hopefully including A. mellifera in the near future.