Scientists found that certain bees separated from their surroundings and their regular roles demonstrate that their internal clocks are adjusted.
Senior author Guy Bloch, PhD, and his colleagues from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, chose to study bees in part because of their complex social environment. One role in bee society is the "nurse": bees that are busy at all times caring for larvae. This continuous activity is different from other bees and animals, whose levels rise and fall throughout the day.
Bloch and his team thought that changing the nurse bees’ social environment might alter their activity levels, so they separated them from their larvae. The researchers found that the bees’ cellular rhythms and behavior completely changed, matching a more typical circadian cycle.
Because bees and mammals’ circadian clocks are similarly organized, the question is whether the clocks of other animals also strongly depend on their social environments.
The hope is that this might lead to research that will reveal the genes that control the internal clock and hence lead to discoveries and treatments for human sleep disorders.
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