Buzzing into Bee Brains: DNews Nugget
Buzzing into Bee Brains:
Honeybee workers have two career choices in life: stay in the hive nursing larvae and grooming the queen, or explore the world for nectar and come back and dance out directions to other foragers. But bees aren't stuck in the same job for a lifetime.
If a nurse gets itchy feet and wants to explore or a forager wants to spend more time at home, they can and will. And their brains will change to reflect the new job skills they are using. A study in the journal Nature Neuroscience, found that the bees' DNA carried a pattern of chemical tags that differed for the two different types of jobs. When a bee switched jobs, the chemical pattern changed and regulated the genes in their brains that were needed for the new task.
"If this is true in a bee it has to be partly true in us. Nature is pretty good at finding the simplest way to accomplish things with the least amount of energy," said Dr Andrew Feinberg, a senior author on the study and geneticist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "I'm not saying we're like big bees, but similar mechanisms must apply."