Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biological Clock Gene In Bees Found To Have Another Function

Date:
July 5, 2000
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
A gene associated with the biological clock in many organisms has revealed yet another function. In honeybees, which live in a world with a distinct division of labor, the gene is more active in the brains of older bees, especially foragers whose jobs are outside the hive.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A gene associated with the biological clock in many organisms has revealed yet another function. In honeybees, which live in a world with a distinct division of labor, the gene is more active in the brains of older bees, especially foragers whose jobs are outside the hive.

Related Articles


The new findings suggest that there are molecular connections occurring in the brain that influence the division of labor and the biological clocks of social insects, University of Illinois researchers say. The study, published June 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to examine the period gene in a developmental context.

"This paper implicates a clock gene in a function that is different than the basic mechanism of the biological clock," said entomologist Gene E. Robinson, director of the UI Bee Research Facility. "This may go beyond circadian rhythms. But we have no idea yet what causes the increase in gene activity, nor do we know its function. This is the first time that such developmental changes in the activity of the period gene have ever been detected."

Robinson's team chose to examine the period gene for its possible role in the honeybees' complex, age-mediated labor system, because it had been found to be involved in time-related processes in fruit flies. Forager honeybees, Robinson said, have a highly developed internal circadian clock that guides their navigation, dancing communication and nectar gathering. In addition, he said, their division of labor is temporal -- a matter of timing and aging.

In a study published in 1998, Robinson and colleagues looked for the rhythms of life in a beehive. They found that young bees shifted randomly between rest and work regardless of time as they performed their duties of feeding the larvae, while foragers only ventured from the hive during daytime hours.

In the latest study, Robinson's team noted that levels of mRNA of the period gene, a message carrier of active DNA, rose and fell during the day in both young and old bees. This cyclic activity is a signature of all clock genes, including period. However, levels of mRNA were twice as high in older bees and in precocious foragers -- bees forced into foraging at an earlier than normal age. The latter discovery, Robinson said, suggests an association between foraging activities and high levels of period gene activity.

The elevated levels, the authors wrote, "cannot be caused solely, if at all, by increased chronological age, foraging, flight, or exposure to the sun," as foragers confined to the laboratory and isolated in darkness away from their social environment for several days also maintained high levels.

Working with Robinson were Dan Toma, a graduate student in the department of ecology, ethology and evolution who cloned the honeybee's period gene, postdoctoral researcher Guy Bloch, and Darrell Moore, a visiting biologist from East Tennessee State University. The National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the UI were among the agencies that funded the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Biological Clock Gene In Bees Found To Have Another Function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000703090425.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (2000, July 5). Biological Clock Gene In Bees Found To Have Another Function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000703090425.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Biological Clock Gene In Bees Found To Have Another Function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000703090425.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins