Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Bee Brained

Unified database provides insights into neuroscientists' favourite model insects' brain organisation and functions

12 November 2021

Bee Brained

Bee-lieve it or not, this image is the brain of a honeybee, with the coloured areas highlighting the parts that are involved in interpreting the signals coming from the insect’s antennae as it smells the world around it. Insects like bees are important subjects in neuroscience research, because they’re small enough to study their entire brains in detail but complex enough to show behaviours like sensing and learning. All around the world, researchers are collecting detailed images and datasets from a wide range of insects, from bees and butterflies to beetles and flies. But because all this information is stored in different places and formats, it’s hard to know what’s out there or make comparisons between different insects. The new InsectBrainDatabase (IBdb) gathers together all these datasets and makes them searchable and shareable, allowing researchers to compare brains of different insect species and gain new insights into how they work.

Written by Kat Arney

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