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Honey bee genome holds clues to social behavior

ites of transcription factors known to function in the development of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) from a single cell to an adult.

A computer algorithm written by the researchers scanned nearly 3,000 genes. Statistical techniques were then used to investigate whether particular transcription factors correlated with genes that were differentially expressed (turned on or off) between nurse bees and foragers.

"We found five different transcription factors that showed a statistically significant correlation with socially regulated genes," Sinha said. "It appears that genes involved in nervous-system development in fruit flies are re-used by nature for behavioral functions in adult honey bees."

Their findings, Sinha said, suggest that honey bees will be useful in elucidating the mechanisms by which social factors regulate gene expression in brains, including those of humans.


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Source:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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