Levels /components


Population :Variation in traits

Social group / communication (chemical — pheromones, nutrition, cuticular hydrocarbons)

Mechanical (vibration, touch)


H: influences division of labor

Individual / polymorphism, behavior (plasticity+tasks), caste + sex

H: influences response thresholds (to sucrose)

E: use RNAi or antisense in individuals of different genotypes.

"organs" / neuronal, hormonal, reproductive, motor,

H: modulates neurons differentially

E: primary cell cultures of antennal lobes, mushroom bodies and optic lobes

and test for differential modulation by different alleles in different tissues.

cellular / genes, proteins, signaling molecules

H:tyramine interacts with signaling cascades

E: complete sequence and bioinformatic analyses

Expression levels and patterns of alternative alleles (In situs, immuno-histology, quantitative PCR, macro-arrays etc.)

Differential splicing

In vitro expression and pharmacology in human cell cultures.

Use of Drosophila mutant hono. Has lower sensitivity to odor stimuli and one muscle studied cannot be influenced by tyramine.


1) The individual behavioral level should be central to the paradigms developed for the other levels.

2) People and labs working on different levels and techniques need to work together and learn from each other. People working primarily at the cellular level should exploit natural genetic variation and use it.

3) We need to see how broadly applicable the response-threshold idea is in different systems: wasps, ants and solitary bees. Do we really have different response thresholds for the different modalities we are studying? Is the response threshold for one modality changing or is the animal’s overall arousal changing?

Are Jennifer’s ants developing different response thresholds that are amplified or is overall arousal changing?

4) To test response thresholds versus arousal, it is very important to develop new behavioral assays to test other response thresholds. For example, olfactory response thresholds could be tested with a "Y" maize.

5) We must be careful about how we define response thresholds. Animals with a higher basal level of responsiveness could have the same response thresholds as those with low levels because the intensity of stimulus needed for a significant increase in response above the basal level is the same.

6) Should we exploit other model organisms for our questions? What can we learn from the Drosophila literature and what can we learn by actually using Drosophila to study our genes in the lab?