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Published on Apr 28, 2014
Some bee species including honey bees live in complex societies while other bee species are solitary. Our research seeks to understand the brain mechanisms that motivate cooperative behaviors in social bees. We hypothesized that in social bees evolutionary processes might have "hijacked" brain circuits that perceive pleasurable experiences converting them to a system that motivates cooperative behavior. We examined how gene activity within the brains of social and solitary bees changes after a pleasurable experience finding that gene responses of social bee species more closely resemble each other than gene responses of solitary bees supporting our hypothesis.