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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Can male prairie voles blame promiscuity on poor memory?

Once male prairie voles have found a mate, what makes some stay at home, while others stray? The latest insight in a canonical scientific saga of genes, brain, social behavior, and evolution comes from new research from the University of Texas at Austin and published this week in Science. A perspective piece by IGB Director Gene Robinson in the same issue puts this work in historical context, and describes how the new findings have completed a circle back to classic University of Illinois study that first inspired this area of research.

Study identifies prime source of ocean methane

Up to 4 percent of the methane on Earth comes from the ocean’s oxygen-rich waters, but scientists have been unable to identify the source of this potent greenhouse gas. Now researchers report that they have found the culprit: a bit of “weird chemistry” practiced by the most abundant microbes on the planet.

The findings appear in the journal Science.

Insects Have Personalities Too, Research on Honey Bees Indicates

A new study in Science suggests that thrill-seeking is not limited to humans and other vertebrates. Some honey bees, too, are more likely than others to seek adventure. The brains of these novelty-seeking bees exhibit distinct patterns of gene activity in molecular pathways known to be associated with thrill-seeking in humans, researchers report.

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