An interesting study will soon be published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. The authors provide compelling molecular evidence to support the discovery of a new sub-species of westerns honeybee (Apis mellifera) in the Xinjiang province western China. The newly identified group is related to the M lineage of bees; i.e., the dark bees (such as A.m.mellifera and iberensis) that are native to the temperate regions of northern Europe. The researchers compared genomic signatures from the Xinjiang bees with those of bees that are native to southern regions of Europe (A.m.liguistica, A.m.carnica and A.m.anatolica) and Africa (A.m.scutellata). They highlight a number of gene regions that are likely to play significant roles affecting bee physiology during the overwintering period (mostly to do with winter fat storage and thermo-regulation). This approach highlights the power of genomic based approaches,and suggests that marker assisted approaches could benefit northern beekeepers identify suitable breeding stock. Linking genes to phenotype (what an animals looks like and how it behaves) would be an meaningful advance in our understanding.