Animal behavior is mediated by the nervous system, according to information encoded in the genome. The Ben-Shahar lab uses a variety of behavioral, genetic, genomic, biochemical, and molecular techniques to decipher the genetic architecture that drives specific behaviors.
New research from Washington University in St. Louis shows that honey bees rely on chemical cues related to their shared gut microbial communities, instead of genetic relatedness, to identify members of their colony.
Research from Washington University in St. Louis finds that mutations of a gene implicated in long QT syndrome in humans may trigger seizures because of their direct effects on certain classes of neurons in the brain — independent from what the genetic mutations do to heart function. The new work from Arts & Sciences was conducted with fruit flies and is published August 8 in PLOS Genetics.
New research from Washington University in St. Louis shows that honey bees (Apis mellifera) develop different scent profiles as they age, and the gatekeeper bees at the hive’s door respond differently to returning foragers than they do when they encounter younger bees who have never ventured out before.
Sophisticated techniques for testing hypotheses about the brain by activating and silencing genes are currently available for only a handful of model organisms. Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis are working on a simplified toolkit that will allow scientists who study animal behavior to manipulate the genomes of many other animals with the hope of accelerating progress in our understanding of the brain.