Analysis of Spatial Learning in Honeybee Foragers Using the Food Search Box Assay
Morrison, Bandele Mojoyinola Abike
MetadataShow full item record
Given the under-representation of genetic analyses of spatial learning in honeybee literature, I designed an experiment to investigate gene expression profiles associated with spatial learning. The experimental design involved using the Food Search Box (FSB) assay to assess learning in Single Drone-Inseminated (SDI) foragers, then collecting the bees for RNA-seq analysis to generate and compare full-transcriptome gene expression profiles for five different stages of learning. From the first to the third learning trial, the SDI foragers did not decrease the number of mistakes they made in a significant way: they did not switch from chance to non-chance searching behaviour. In addition, during the memory recall stage, the bees made significantly more errors than chance, suggesting they did not remember their focal flower. Landmarks cues, inter-trial interval, motivation level for sucrose and genetics may each play a role in the ability of SDI foragers to learn vs. foragers from naturally mated queens.