Brain gene expression patterns predict behavior of individual honey bees
“If the queen in a colony dies and the workers fail to rear a replacement queen, some worker bees activate their ovaries and begin to lay eggs,” said Beryl Jones, a former graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who led the study with entomology professor Gene Robinson, the director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the U. of I.; and Sriram Chandrasekaran, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan. Jones is a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University.
“This is an example of ‘behavioral plasticity,’ the ability to change behavior in response to the environment,” Jones said. “We know that behavioral plasticity is influenced by the activity of genes in the brain, but we do not know how genes in the brain work together to regulate these behavioral differences.”
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Photo credits: Michael B. Vincent
Editor: Diana Yates