Bee social or buzz off: Study, led by Sarah Kocher, links genes to social behaviors, including autism

Thursday, Oct 25, 2018

Those pesky bees that come buzzing around on a muggy summer day are helping researchers reveal the genes responsible for social behaviors. A new study published this week found that the social lives of sweat bees — named for their attraction to perspiration — are linked to patterns of activity in specific genes, including ones linked to autism. “Bees have complex social behaviors, and with this species of bee, we can directly compare individuals that live in social groups to those that don’t live in social groups,” said assistant professor Sarah Kocher. "We can ask: ‘What are the fundamental differences between a social and nonsocial animal?’ ”

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