bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Monday, February 09, 2004

I’m not bloody-minded, I’m sick!

Researchers at the University of Tokyo claim to have discovered a possible link between a new brain virus discovered in bees and their propensity to fly into fits of bee rage and attack other insects. If they can treat the bee virus successfully, they think this could support a theory that brain viruses cause human mental disorders.

The scientific abstract explains how they discovered a novel RNA sequence which they named Kakugo and which has similarities with the sacbrood virus that also affects honeybees. They have only found Kakugo in the brains of bees that displayed aggressive behaviour towards a decoy hornet.
“Kakugo RNA was detected in aggressive workers but not in nurse bees or foragers. In aggressive workers, Kakugo RNA was detected in the brain but not in the thorax or abdomen, indicating a close relation between viral infection in the brain and aggressive worker behaviors.”
Journal of Virology


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