The insect foraging (for) gene encodes a cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) that affects foraging behavior. In Drosophila two different for alleles have been found, and the two alleles affect food-searching behavior under different ecological conditions. In the April 26 Science, Ben-Shahar et al. describe changes in for expression during bee development (Science 2002, 296:741-744).

They studied the honeybee (Apis mellifera), which undergoes an age-related developmental switch from hive work to foraging, and cloned the bee for ortholog (Amfor). Ben-Shahar et al. found that foragers had elevated expression of brain Amfor; pharmacological activation of PKG activity also induced foraging activity. Amfor is highly expressed in the lamina of the optic lobes and the mushroom bodies. Thus, changes in Amfor expression and PKG activity contribute to complex behavioral features of bee society.

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?