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Science. 2003 Oct 10;302(5643):296-9.

Gene expression profiles in the brain predict behavior in individual honey bees.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 320 Morrill Hall, 505 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


We show that the age-related transition by adult honey bees from hive work to foraging is associated with changes in messenger RNA abundance in the brain for 39% of approximately 5500 genes tested. This result, discovered using a highly replicated experimental design involving 72 microarrays, demonstrates more extensive genomic plasticity in the adult brain than has yet been shown. Experimental manipulations that uncouple behavior and age revealed that messenger RNA changes were primarily associated with behavior. Individual brain messenger RNA profiles correctly predicted the behavior of 57 out of 60 bees, indicating a robust association between brain gene expression in the individual and naturally occurring behavioral plasticity.

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