Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Most detailed fly brain 'wiring diagram' or connectome so far

22 May 2020

Wiring a Fly

Brains are complicated. Really complicated. In order to understand more about how these complex organs work, researchers are creating detailed ‘wiring diagrams’, or connectomes, which trace all the connections between nerve cells in an organism’s brain. Even for simple creatures like fruit flies, the task of creating a detailed connectome is enormous: tracing all the connections would take a team of 250 scientists two decades to complete. To speed things up, neuroscientists at the Janelia Research Campus in Virginia have teamed up with data scientists at Google. They’ve been using the latest image analysis technology to trace millions of connections between 25,000 nerve cells in a fruit fly brain, creating this dazzling image. It’s the most detailed fly connectome ever generated, covering important areas involved in learning, memory, smell and navigation. The entire fruit fly brain contains around 100,000 nerve cells, so they’re hoping to complete the job by 2022.

Written by Kat Arney

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