How do we make memories? What exactly is it that makes us feel hungry? Understanding what goes on inside the brain of even the tiniest of creatures is extremely difficult. Here, signal-carrying ‘wires’ called neurons inside a fruit fly’s brain have been mapped using software to build an accurate 3D model from three microscope images. Colour has been added to distinguish between different types of neurons. The green ones are crucial for creating memories, while the blue and yellow ones link the sensation of hunger to memory, which motivates the bug to eat. Only a fraction of the neuron network has been revealed, but it's helping researchers tease apart the mechanisms involved in different thought processes. One day, similar techniques could be used to map human brains, so we can better understand the science behind learning and memory.
Written by Emma Stoye
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.