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Keywords:

  • FoxP2;
  • dance language;
  • honeybee;
  • acoustic communication

Abstract

The transcription factor FoxP2 is related to acoustic communication in vertebrates and, although widely expressed in various tissues, its mutations cause a speech disorder in humans and disrupt vocalization in mice. In honeybee colonies, workers transmit information about a food location using ‘dance communication’, which is a form of acoustic communication. We identified a honeybee FoxP2-homologue, AmFoxP, and investigated its expression in the honeybee brain to elucidate its possible role in dance communication. The relative abundance of AmFoxP mRNA in the worker brain increased during the first 4 days of adult life. In situ hybridization revealed AmFoxP expression around the optic lobes, central complex, dorsal lobes, and protocerebral lobes, which was not dependent on the caste or division of labour.