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´╗┐research on honey bees indicates

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

University of Illinois entomology professor and Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson and his colleagues found that some honey bees are more adventurous than others. These bees are more likely than their sisters to scout for new food sources and nest sites. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

The findings offer a new window on the inner life of the honey bee hive, which once was viewed as a highly regimented colony of seemingly interchangeable workers taking on a few specific roles nurse or forager, for example to serve their queen. Now it appears that individual honey bees actually differ in their desire or willingness to perform particular tasks, said University of Illinois entomology professor and Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson, who led the study. These differences may be due, in part, to variability in the bees personalities, he said.

humans, differences in noveltyseeking are a component of personality, he said. insects also have personalities?

Robinson and his colleagues studied two behaviors that looked like noveltyseeking in honey bees: scouting for nest sites and scouting for food.

When a colony of bees outgrows its living quarters, the hive divides and the swarm must find a suitable new home. At this moment of crisis, a few intrepid bees less than 5 percent of the swarm take off to hunt for a hive.

These bees, called nest scouts, are on average 3.4 times more likely than their peers to also become food scouts, the researchers found.

is a gold standard for personality research and that is if you show the same tendency in different contexts, then that can be called a personality trait, Robinson said. Not only do certain bees exhibit signs of noveltyseeking, he said, but their willingness or eagerness to the extra mile can be vital to the life of the hive.

The researchers wanted to determine the molecular basis for these differences in honey bee behavior. They used wholegenome microarray analysis to look for differences in the activity of thousands of genes in the brains of scouts and nonscouts.

are trying to understand what is the basis of noveltyseeking behavior in humans and in animals, said Robinson, who also is affiliated with the Neuroscience Program at Illinois. a lot of the thinking has to do with the relationship between how the brain reward system is engaged in response to some experience.

The researchers found thousands of distinct differences in gene activity in the brains of scouting and nonscouting bees.

expected to find some, but the magnitude of the differences was surprising given that both scouts and nonscouts are foragers, Robinson said.

Among the many differentially expressed genes were several related to catecholamine, glutamate and gammaaminobutyric acid GABA signaling, and the researchers zeroed in on these because they are involved in regulating noveltyseeking and responding to reward in vertebrates.

To test whether the changes in brain signaling caused the noveltyseeking, the researchers subjected groups of bees to treatments that would increase or inhibit these chemicals in the brain.

Two treatments with glutamate and octopamine increased scouting in bees that had not scouted before. Blocking dopamine signaling decreased scouting behavior, the researchers found.

results say that noveltyseeking in humans and other vertebrates has parallels in an insect, Robinson said. can see the same sort of consistent behavioral differences and molecular underpinnings.

The findings also suggest that insects, humans and other animals made use of the same genetic kit in the evolution of behavior, Robinson said. The tools in the tool kit genes encoding certain molecular pathways may play a role in the same types of behaviors, but each species has adapted them in its own, distinctive way.

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´╗┐Ariel Castro house of horrors to be razed

Once the house is demolished, were going to engage the community on what should be done, beginning with the victims, says Gus Frangos, president of Cuyahoga Land Bank, which acquired the property last week. Were going to let a consensus build around what we should do.

Demolition of the house is slated to begin Wednesday. Once thats complete, local officials will lead the process of engaging with the community to determine what should go in its place, Mr. Frangos told the Monitor on Tuesday.

Last week one of the survivors, Michelle Knight, reportedly told the neighbor whose house the three women fled to after their escape in May that shed like to see a park, including a statue of an angel, at the site.

Frangos says the bank hasnt been in touch directly with Ms. Knight or the other two women, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, about their wishes for the property.

We havent heard from the victims. We own the property now, but our task first and foremost is to remove that negative monument from the neighborhood, he says.

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There are two vacant homes next to Mr. Castros that could also be demolished, adding to the square footage for a potential park or monument, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Castros former house at 2207 Seymour Ave. in Cleveland has been under 24hour surveillance since the women escaped on May 6. The electricity in the house was reportedly turned off Monday, and members of Castros family removed some personal items from the house.

Castro was sentenced last week to life without parole, plus 1,000 years, after he pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, and aggravated murder. A plea deal spared Castro a possible death sentence for beating and starving a pregnant Knight until she miscarried.