Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Classical Conditioning, Phobias, and Drug Tolerance? Scientists Identify Neurons That Control Feeding Behavior in Drosophila

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have developed a novel transgenic system which allows them to remotely activate individual brain cells in the model organism Drosophila using ambient temperature. This powerful new tool for identifying and characterizing neural circuitry has lead to the identification of a pair of neurons -- now called Fdg neurons -- in the fruit fly that decide when to eat and initiate the subsequent feeding action. Discovery of these neurons may help neurobiologists better understand how the brain uses memory and stimuli to produce classically conditioned responses, such as those often associated with phobias or drug tolerance. The study appears in the journal Nature. more

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