3D Gene Expression
Like all brains, insect brains have different structures that accomplish specific tasks. Dr. Josh Dubnau introduces a technique for examining gene expression in the brains of fruit flies.
So this is a 3-dimensional image of a fruit fly brain. Like all brains, insect brains have different structures that accomplish specific tasks. The mushroom bodies are a learning center in the insect brain, they are stained a brown color in this image. In green are the parts of the brain, the neurons within the brain, that express a particular gene, that activate a particular gene. And as you can see from the fact that many of the green neurons coincide with the brown staining of the mushroom bodies, this gene is active in the mushroom bodies.
gene expression, fruit flies, fruit fly, mushroom bodies, neurons, josh, dubnau
- ID: 1721
- Source: DNALC.G2C
Doctor Josh Dubnau describes how he and his colleagues at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory devised an experiment that dissociated the encoding and retrieval of memory in fruit flies.
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that model systems are particular species of animals that substitute for humans or other animals. For genetic and historic reasons, the fruit fly is a commonly used model.
Doctor Josh Dubnau discusses some remarkably sophisticated behaviors in fruit flies that suggest that they do have cognition.
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that the genes active in different neurons can make them excitatory (e.g. glutamate) or inhibitory (e.g. GABA). These neurotransmitters are critical to learning.
Professor David Anderson explains that the mushroom body is a structure in the insect brain involved in learning and memory. It has been compared to the cerebral cortex in humans.
Early drawing of a male fruit fly.
The fruit fly is easy to maintain, has large numbers of offspring, and grows quickly. The fruit fly shares with humans a number of so-called “master,” or homeotic, genes.
Many of the genes important for memory in flies are probably also important for memory in other animals, even humans. Doctor Josh Dubnau explains how the T-maze is used to test memory in flies.
Professor Ron Davis discusses the attributes that make the fruit fly a good model for studying memory in humans.
The Fly Room at Columbia University, around 1920.