by Yehuda Ben-Shahar
| Apr. 18, 2012
The pattern of conservation across species suggests that micro-RNAs are important regulators of social behavior not just during the bee's lifetime but also over evolutionary time, according to this Washington University study.
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Yehuda Ben-Shahar, PhD, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, in an article published in the online edition of Genes, Brain and Behavior, he and his colleagues from Washington University, the University of Delaware, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Institute for System Biology in Seattle, demonstrate that the division of labor among honeybees coincides with the presence in their brains of tiny snippets of noncoding RNA that suppress the expression of genes. Enterprising lengthy article, highly informative, and educative.
This is a really interesting, and somewhat complicated, explanation of miRNAs and how they may be responsible for not only the functions that bees take on at certain ages, but may also be responsible for some of their social behavior and workings. Relating to this to human behavior would be an extremely interesting op-ed. One could argue that with further research, the thousands of miRNAs within humans could be explored to see if they are responsible for certain human behaviors and social interactions.