HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
New study in moths shows insects not entirely ruled by instinct

COLUMBUS, Ohio By examining the brain activity of moths, researchers have found that the behavior of these insects isn't ruled entirely by instinct. Rather, they can learn which odors mean food.

The findings are more than academic: The researchers hope to develop methods for using trained moths to detect odors of interest for defense industry and law enforcement such as odors given off by biological and chemical weapons.

Animal behaviorists have historically argued that most insects have a programmed response to a variety of situations, such as knowing which odors signal the presence of food and mates.

But scientists are discovering that animals don't always instinctively know what to do. In these cases, they have to learn, said Kevin Daly, the study's lead author and a research scientist in entomology at Ohio State University.

He and his colleagues used tiny electrodes implanted in the heads of sphinx moths to continuously monitor the insect's neuronal activity and feeding behavior before, during and after training the animal that one odor meant food sugar water was on the way and another odor did not.

"We saw a dramatic restructuring of the neural networks that convert scent into a code that the rest of the brain can understand," Daly said. "The changes in this coding suggest that the moths learned to differentiate between an odor that meant food and an odor that didn't."

Understanding how moths detect and discriminate between scents could have wide-reaching applications. In related work, Daly and his colleagues are training moths and bees to detect odors from manufactured explosives.

"In principle, if we can understand how insects learn and distinguish between odors, we could 'train' these animals to recognize any detectable odor of interest," he said.

The findings currently appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The electrodes placed in the moths'
'"/>

Contact: Kevin Daly
Daly.40@osu.edu
Ohio State University
12-Jul-2004


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Student science contest participation influences study, career choices, alumni say
2. New study shows hope for treating inhalant abuse
3. International study findings link acne-like rash to effectiveness of new targeted cancer treatment
4. Cigarette smoke causes breaks in DNA and defects to a cells chromosomes, Pitt study finds
5. New study indicates arsenic could be suitable as first-line treatment in type of leukaemia
6. Phase II trials of second-generation antisense cancer drug planned following successful early study
7. Preclinical safety study shows adipose-derived stem cells improve heart function after heart attack
8. Indiana University, EPA to study airborne PCBs
9. K-State, other universities to study how climate affects plant evolution
10. USC study links historical increases in life span to lower childhood exposure to infection
11. Washington University in St. Louis leads group studying aging process

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: New study moths shows insects not entirely ruled instinct

(Date:7/25/2014)... (July 24, 2014)The link between autism and disrupted ... puzzle of the disease, and is largely unknown. ... Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), George Washington University (GW) ... offer truly integrative and in-depth answers to these ... , LaMantia, professor of pharmacology and physiology ...
(Date:7/25/2014)... scientists from 25 countries and 35 states will ... the Genetics Society of America (GSA) next week ... conference will feature close to 500 presentations (including ... including gene expression and regulation, functional genomics, chemical ... and a variety of diseases. , Of ...
(Date:7/25/2014)... increasingly consume the healthcare community and remain ... , To address the worldwide crisis of ... countries, global leaders in diabetes, epidemiology and ... prevention and development of diverse intervention programs ... , This book on "Global Health Perspectives ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):GW researcher receives grant to answer the how and why of autism during development 2Yeast meeting to showcase latest breakthroughs in genetics and molecular biology 2What constitutes an effective response to the global 'diabesity' tsunami? 2
(Date:7/24/2014)... July 24, 2014 -- A novel combination of microscopy ... of Energy,s Oak Ridge National Laboratory an unprecedented look ... unusual physical and electrochemical properties. , The research ... affects the surface of a perovskite manganite, a complex ... new avenue to understand surface behavior could benefit researchers ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... 2014  Now available is a stem cell therapy ... Therapies , located in Guadalajara, Mexico ... a new health option: stem cell therapies for ... patients suffer from joint and muscle injuries due to ... torn rotator cuff, tennis elbow, and knee injuries. Throughout ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... BURLINGAME, Calif. , July 24, 2014  ECC ... Denver, Colorado with University College Hospital ... of a development project to finance, design, construct, and ... Ibadan, Nigeria . Under the first ... and prepare scoping documents and funding applications. UCH Ibadan ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... research team led by group leader Yung-Eun Sung ... to synthesize sulfur-doped and nitrogen-doped graphenes which can ... batteries and fuel cells. Yung-Eun Sung is both ... Research at Institute for Basic Science* (IBS) and ... This achievement has great significance with regards to ...
Breaking Biology Technology:ORNL study reveals new characteristics of complex oxide surfaces 2Stem Cells In Sports Injuries, Joints And Muscular Pain 2Stem Cells In Sports Injuries, Joints And Muscular Pain 3ECC Signs a Contract for the Finance, Design, and Construction of a Premier Cancer Institute in Ibadan, Nigeria 2
Cached News: