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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Reach out and feed someone: Automated system finds rapid honey bee networks

“Only connect”—E. M. Forster’s pithy quotation captures an essential feature of any society, human or animal: the patterns of interactions among individuals out of which collective behaviors arise. By developing a system that allows automated, in-depth monitoring of the social interactions of honey bees, researchers have now uncovered an unexpected property of the bee social network that may someday help us design more effective human and machine communication systems.

Reach out and feed someone: Automated system finds rapid honey bee networks

“Only connect”—E. M. Forster’s pithy quotation captures an essential feature of any society, human or animal: the patterns of interactions among individuals out of which collective behaviors arise. By developing a system that allows automated, in-depth monitoring of the social interactions of honey bees, researchers have now uncovered an unexpected property of the bee social network that may someday help us design more effective human and machine communication systems.

Genomic study explores evolution of gentle 'killer bees' in Puerto Rico

A genomic study of Puerto Rico's Africanized honey bees - which are more docile than other so-called "killer bees" - reveals that they retain most of the genetic traits of their African honey bee ancestors, but that a few regions of their DNA have become more like those of European honey bees. According to the researchers, these changes likely contributed to the bees' rapid evolution toward gentleness in Puerto Rico, a change that occurred within 30 years.

$2.6 million to build versatile genetic toolkit for studying animal behavior

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made 17 Next Generation Networks for Neuroscience (NeuroNex) awards to aid the research community as it pursues one of its grandest challenges: understanding the brain.

These projects will support the development of innovative, accessible and shared capabilities and resources, as well as theoretical frameworks and computational modeling to advance neuroscience research.

Study finds parallels between unresponsive honey bees, autism in humans

Honey bees that consistently fail to respond to obvious social cues share something fundamental with autistic humans, researchers report in a new study. Genes most closely associated with autism spectrum disorders in humans are regulated differently in unresponsive honey bees than in their more responsive nest mates, the study found.

Radio Frequency ID Tags on Honey Bees Reveal Hive Dynamics

Scientists attached radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to hundreds of individual honey bees and tracked them for several weeks. The effort yielded two discoveries: Some foraging bees are much busier than others; and if those busy bees disappear, others will take their place.

The findings are reported in the journal Animal Behaviour, and featured in a New York Times ScienceTake video.

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