Bee nice to me


NEPOTISM among bees is governed by a brain chemical that helps them distinguish intruders from fellow hive members. Gene Robinson of the University of Illinois in Urbana and his colleagues injected the brains of bees with a chemical that mimics the effects of a neurotransmitter called octopamine (Nature, vol 399, p 534). Bees with boosted levels of the chemical were more aggressive towards bees from other hives, but more friendly towards their own nest mates. Octopamine may enhance the bees’ sense of smell,
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