Molecular Determinants of Scouting Behavior in Honey Bees

Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 03/2012; 335(6073):1225-8. DOI: 10.1126/science.1213962
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Little is known about the molecular basis of differences in behavior among individuals. Here we report consistent novelty-seeking behavior, across different contexts, among honey bees in their tendency to scout for food sources and nest sites, and we reveal some of the molecular underpinnings of this behavior relative to foragers that do not scout. Food scouts showed extensive differences in brain gene expression relative to other foragers, including differences related to catecholamine, glutamate, and γ-aminobutyric acid signaling. Octopamine and glutamate treatments increased the likelihood of scouting, whereas dopamine antagonist treatment decreased it. These findings demonstrate intriguing similarities in human and insect novelty seeking and suggest that this trait, which presumably evolved independently in these two lineages, may be subserved by conserved molecular components.

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