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Bcrazy 

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Common Scents: Honeybees Guide Neurological Discoveries
— Every moment of every day the brain is forced to process thousands of separate odorants from the world around us.
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Through a new study of honeybees, scientists at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute have discovered the brain has an advanced ability to isolate specific odours and recollect smells.
"There's a lot of information coming into the brain whenever a scent is detected and it would be difficult to process it all," lead researcher Dr Judith Reinhard said.
"We've found that honeybees pick only a handful of so-called 'key odorants' out of every complex aroma that they really learn. They may remember just two or three odorants from a couple of hundred, the rest are ignored."
Colleague Dr Charles Claudianos said if you had to learn the hundreds of compounds your brain would be overwhelmed with information.
"By choosing the key odorants, you can function more effectively without being swamped," Dr Charles Claudianos said.
The research, published in the latest edition of PLoS ONE, has also allowed the scientists to explore how the learning of odours affects molecules that have been linked to autism and schizophrenia. During their studies, the researchers found that the honeybee brain responds to sensory experience.
"The honeybee brain -- like the human brain -- adapts to its sensory environment by adjusting the expression of these molecules," Dr Claudianos said.
Dr Reinhard said the findings could also have an enormous impact on Australian farming. Using the honeybee's capacity to extract key odorants, scientists will be able to isolate these odorants from the complex aromas of crops. They can then use the key odorants to train honeybees to pollinate specific crops.
"Farmers often have problems making honeybees focus on the crop -- the bees go astray and go to nearby forests or national parks and the farmers don't get a good yield," Dr Reinhard said.
"If we know the key odorants of the almond aroma, for example, we could use these to train the honeybees in the hive to focus only on pollinating almonds. Then you'd have a much higher likelihood the honeybees would stay in the crop and pollinate it."
Now the focus for the QBI scientists will be whether humans use the same technique of learning specific key odorants so our brain is not overwhelmed by too much sensory information -- early research suggests we do.
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Promiscuous females may be the key to a species' survival, according to new research by the Universities of Exeter and Liverpool. Published February 25 in Current Biology, the study could solve the mystery of why females of most species have multiple mates, despite this being more risky for the individual.
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Known as 'polyandry' among scientists, the phenomenon of females having multiple mates is shared across most animal species, from insects to mammals. This study suggests that polyandry reduces the risk of populations becoming extinct because of all-female broods being born. This can sometimes occur as a result of a sex-ratio distortion (SR) chromosome, which results in all of the Y chromosome 'male' sperm being killed before fertilisation. The all-female offspring will carry the SR chromosome, which will be passed on to their sons in turn resulting in more all-female broods. Eventually there will be no males and the population will die out.
For this study, the scientists worked with the fruitfly Drosophila pseudoobscura. They gave some populations the opportunity to mate naturally, meaning that the females had multiple partners. The others were restricted to having one mate each. They bred several generations of these populations, so they could see how each fared over time.
Over fifteen generations, five of the twelve populations that had been monogamous became extinct as a result of males dying out. The SR chromosome was far less prevalent in the populations in which females had the opportunity to have multiple mates and none of these populations became extinct.
The study shows how having multiple mates can suppress the spread of the SR chromosome, making all-female broods a rarity. This is because males that carry the SR chromosome produce only half as many sperm as normal males. When a female mates with multiple males, their sperm will compete to fertilise her eggs. The few sperm produced by males carrying the SR chromosome are out-competed by the sperm from normal males, and the SR chromosome cannot spread.
Lead author Professor Nina Wedell of the University of Exeter said: "We were surprised by how quickly -- within nine generations -- a population could die out as a result of females only mating with one partner. Polyandry is such a widespread phenomenon in nature but it remains something of an enigma for scientists. This study is the first to suggest that it could actually save a population from extinction."

Is that a warning or what!!!!!

Regards;
 

taff.. 

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as usal an interesting post Bcrazy.

"If we know the key odorants of the almond aroma, for example, we could use these to train the honeybees in the hive to focus only on pollinating almonds. Then you'd have a much higher likelihood the honeybees would stay in the crop and pollinate it."


this in isolation seems like a good idea, but surely they are working against the bee's need of a variety of pollen for their wellbeing, so although they may make the almond pollen the most attractive, they are well and truly swimming against the tide trying to get the bees to only forrage on them.

what do you think?
 

Bcrazy 

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To try to get bees to forage only on one type of forage is absolutely stupid because they need a varied diet just like humans do . Being vegetarians they do not have many options but do need a varied input of pollen to keep well.

Did you know there are some beekeepers who maintain the queen only mates with one drone? Unfortunately they won't listen or even read about the queens mating habits.

Regards;
 

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