Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biological clock of honey bee more similar to humans than to insects

26.10.2006
Groundbreaking research undertaken by a group headed by Dr. Guy Bloch of the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has found that the molecular structure of the biological clock of the honey bee is more similar to the biological clock of mammals than to that of flies.

The research identified and characterized the key genes involved in the biological clock of bees. The findings of the research will be published on Oct. 26 in an article describing the honey bee genome sequence in Nature and in a companion paper in Genome Research.

The biological clock is an internal system in the bodies of living creatures that creates circadian rhythms, derived from the Latin expression circa dies that means "about one day." The critical role of the circadian clock stems from its influence on many processes, such as time of alertness and fatigue, activity rhythms, cyclic changes in body temperature and the secretion of hormones.

Bees rely on the biological clock for timing visits to flowers when nectar and pollen flow is at its highest. They can learn to reach flowers at nine different points of time during the day within an accuracy of about 20 minutes. The clock is also essential for navigation that uses the sun as a compass because the sun moves during the day from east to west. Bees, whose bodies are slightly longer than one centimeter, precisely navigate to flowers situated as far as 10 km from their beehive.

... more about:
»biological clock »circadian »clock »insects »rhythm

The central biological clock is located in the brain and is made up of groups of “clock cells,” each of which is capable of creating a circadian rhythm independently. These circadian rhythms are generated by complex interactions between "clock genes" that accumulate in the cells and eventually close a cycle of about 24 hours when they shut down their own production. The genes which were isolated by Dr. Bloch and his research team are responsible for this process in bees.

The research of Dr. Bloch and his team is part of a worldwide project for mapping the honey bee genome (similar to the human genome project which was completed several years ago). According to Dr. Bloch, "Discovering that molecular characteristics of the biological clock in bees is closer to the biological clock of mammals than that of flies was a big surprise, since previously it had been thought that there is one type of clock that is typical of insects and another typical of mammals. These results change our understanding of the evolution of circadian clocks."

Dr. Bloch points out that the discovery raises many additional questions concerning the evolution of biological clocks and the significance of differences in the organization of the clock in different creatures. For example, why is the clock of bees closer to humans than that of flies? Is the similarity between bees and mammals related to the behavioral complexity of bees? How did the clock of ancestral insects work: was it more similar to that of bees or flies?

Characterization of the genes in the clock of the bee opens up new directions of research concerning the understanding of the molecular base of complex behaviors, such as sun-compass navigation, time sensing, flexibility in circadian rhythms, and social regulation of the circadian clock.

Another reason that research on the evolution and function of clock genes is important is that these genes are involved in a variety of illnesses, such as mental disturbances, alcoholism, problems of overweight and drug addition, as well as in processes relating to aging.

Jerry Barach | alfa
Further information:
http://www.huji.ac.il

Further reports about: biological clock circadian clock insects rhythm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>