Bee genes may drive them to adventure

Scouting behavior linked to certain molecules in insect brains

2:52pm, March 8, 2012

That honeybee lazily probing a flower may actually be a stealth explorer, genetically destined to seek adventure from birth.

Bees who consistently explore new environments for food have different genetic activity in their brains than their less-adventurous hive mates, scientists report in the March 9 Science. This genetic activity relates to making particular chemical signals, some of which are linked to behaviors such as thrill-seeking in people. 

“This is an exciting paper that raises a lot of interesting questions,” says neurobiologist Alison Mercer of the University of Otago in New Zealand.

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