Figure 1. About 2,000 neurons in the fruit fly implicated in male courtship behavior are grouped into many lineage based subpopulations identified by different colors using Brainbow techniques. Figure 4 j and k from “Drosophila Brainbow: a recombinase-based fluorescence labeling technique to subdivide neural expression patterns” by Stefanie Hampel, Phuong Chung, Claire E McKellar, Donald Hall, Loren L Looger and Julie H Simpson. Nature Methods Advance Online Publication, February 6, 2011.
The fruit fly (Drosophila melanogster) brain is composed of about 100,000 neurons. This makes their brains complex enough to support interesting behavior and, therefore, makes the fruit fly an excellent candidate for clarifying principles governing how brains work. The new paper “Drosophila Brainbow: a recombinase-based fluorescence labeling technique to subdivide neural expression patterns” (published February 6, 2011 in Nature Methods Advance Online Publication) describes the authors’ application of a multicolor labeling technique known as Brainbow in conjunction with genetic targeting tools to enable the identification of individual neurons in the same fruit fly brain. In addition to identifying individual neurons, the team was able to trace the ancestry – the cell lineage – of individual neurons, enabling them to address questions about how cell lineages contribute to neural circuits.
Other related blog posts:
How the Brain Works, Flies, and the FlyBase Online Data Repository