Saturday, January 31, 2009

serotonin hegemony?

Big Don shares science news;
LATimes | The normally solitary insects cluster when the brain chemical serotonin is high. The finding may be a step toward preventing crop damage, an expert says.

Desert locusts are normally solitary individuals who eke out a meager subsistence while avoiding others of their species. But when food sources become abundant, such as after a rain, they transform into ravening packs of billions of insects that can strip a landscape bare.

The key to the transformation, researchers said Friday, is the brain chemical serotonin, the chemical that in humans modulates anger, aggression, mood, appetite, sexuality and a host of other behaviors.

The locusts swarm when contact with one another triples their serotonin levels, British and Australian researchers reported in the journal Science.
I woke up this morning to find a message in my inbox from BD titled "serotonin hegemony". While the political implications of the animal model in question give pause - evoking as they do a serotonin re-uptake inhibited rave, the summer of love, godless communism, and biblical plagues - I have to give him props for the ergodic sweep of his gesture.