Gene that helps honey bees find flowers unravelled
Washington: Scientists have discovered a new gene which they say helps honey bees to detect nutrients in flowers and find their way back home.
Honey bees don`t start out knowing how to find flowers or even how to get around outside the hive, researchers said.
Before they can forage, they must learn how to navigate a changing landscape and orient themselves in relation to the Sun.
In a new study, researchers report that a regulatory gene known to be involved in learning and the detection of novelty in vertebrates also kicks into high gear in the brains of honey bees when they are learning to how to find food and bring it home.
Activity of this gene, called Egr, quickly increases in a region of the brain known as the mushroom bodies whenever bees try to find their way around an unfamiliar environment, the researchers said.
This gene is the insect equivalent of a transcription factor found in mammals. Transcription factors regulate the activity of other genes.
The researchers found that the increased Egr activity did not occur as a result of exercise, the physical demands of learning to fly or the task of memorising visual cues.
It increased only in response to the bees` exposure to an unfamiliar environment. Even seasoned foragers had an uptick in Egr activity when they had to learn how to navigate in a new environment.
"This discovery gives us an important lead in figuring out how honey bees are able to navigate so well, with such a tiny brain," said Gene Robinson, a professor of entomology and neuroscience and director of the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois.
"And finding that it`s Egr, with all that this gene is known to do in vertebrates, provides another demonstration that some of the molecular mechanisms underlying behavioural plasticity are deeply conserved in evolution," said Robinson.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Watch - IIT-Kharagpur develops superpower drone 'BHIM' that could aid soldiers in war zones
- Anti-Romeo squad launched: Has moral policing started in UP?
- What Muslims think about Ram Mandir issue?
- CM Yogi’s cleanliness drive: UP cops clean up police stations
- Martyrs' Day: Nation remembers Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru for their sacrifice
- Hukumdev Narain Yadav to be new Vice-President of India?
- 400 Trinamool Congress members including many TMC stalwarts join BJP in Tripura
- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru were hanged on 23 March 1931 – This is how PM Modi paid tribute today
- Unable to meet educational expenses, Muslim girl writes to PM Narendra Modi – Know what happened next
- Yogi Adityanath took THESE 20 big actions in just 75 hours after becoming UP CM