Bumblebees Can Learn to Pull Strings for Reward, New Study Shows

String pulling is a popular problem-solving task for investigating cognitive abilities in apes and birds, but has never been tested in insects. Now, buff-tailed bumblebees ( Bombus terrestris ) have joined the club, according to a study by researchers at Queen Mary University of London, UK.

The buff-tailed bumblebees ( Bombus terrestris ). Image credit: Spacebirdy / CC-BY-SA — 3.0.
The team’s results show that rare innovator bumblebees were able to solve the problem of pulling the string to reach a sugar water reward by themselves while most others could learn to pull the string when trained.
Naïve bumblebees were then able to learn the task by observing a trained demonstrator insect while this skill was passed down through several generations of learners, ensuri… Read more

Researchers Take One Step Closer in Developing Universal Vaccine against Flu Viruses

A research team led by McMaster University scientist Matthew Miller has taken one step closer to developing an effective, ‘one-punch’ flu vaccine.

Model of ADCC (antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity) activation by influenza A virus-specific antibody specificity. Image credit: Wenqian He et al.
While flu shots remain the best way to protect against the virus, how well a flu vaccine works each year depends on the health and age of the person being vaccinated, the similarity between seasonal vaccine viruses and circulating viruses, and whether a live or inactivated vaccine was used.
A universal flu vaccine, such as the one proposed by Dr. Miller and co-authors, could effectively prevent mismatches, since it would protect against all flu strains, and the occurrence of flu pandemics.
The… Read more

Researchers Take One Step Closer in Developing Universal Vaccine against Flu Viruses

A research team led by McMaster University scientist Matthew Miller has taken one step closer to developing an effective, ‘one-punch’ flu vaccine.

Model of ADCC (antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity) activation by influenza A virus-specific antibody specificity. Image credit: Wenqian He et al.
While flu shots remain the best way to protect against the virus, how well a flu vaccine works each year depends on the health and age of the person being vaccinated, the similarity between seasonal vaccine viruses and circulating viruses, and whether a live or inactivated vaccine was used.
A universal flu vaccine, such as the one proposed by Dr. Miller and co-authors, could effectively prevent mismatches, since it would protect against all flu strains, and t… Read more

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