FEB 07, 2020 8:04 PM PST

Flyception 2.0: Tracks Complex Social Behavior of Flies

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Researchers at the University of California San Diego now have a better understanding of the social behavior of insets thanks to advanced imaging technology called ‘Flyception’. Originally developed in 2016 as a system that records freely walking flies, but now the technology has advanced to the point that it can record ultra-precise brain activities in flies. The "Flyception2" can allow researchers to study brain activity of flies during intricate behaviors.

"This technology has made it possible to record the animal while it's moving around completely untethered and unfettered in any sense," said Ralph Greenspan, a professor in the Division of Biological Sciences and Department of Cognitive Science, and associate director of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind (KIBM). "The strength of the system is that it gives us real-time information of what the cells in the brain are doing and an understanding of social behaviors."

The technology is the first ever to describe what happens to the brain during mating in any organism—findings were published in Nature Communications.

The design of Flyception2 involves a groundbreaking tool that allows researchers to surgically implant a transparent window on the fly's head. The recordings reveal insights of brain activities—such as how differences between a particular population of brain cells (known as neurons)—P1 and mAL that are either active or off during courtship.

"Only by using this system were we able to obtain the surprise finding that P1 neurons are inactive during copulation," said Grover. "My hypothesis is that as mAL neurons turn on, P1 neural activity goes down, suggesting a countervailing effect of mAL in opposing P1 activity."

Learn more about how study flies help us understand our own brains:

"We hope this kind of technical advancement, which can only be done at this point in the fruit fly, can start to forge the way for other organisms," said Greenspan. "Scientists are starting to be able to draw parallels between which parts of the brain appear to have evolved from the same precursors in invertebrates and in mammals. As people do more of those molecular studies, we will be able to make those parallels in more detail."

Source: University of California-San Diego

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
JAN 27, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 27, 2020
Espresso, Scientifically
Everyone has their preferred way to make a cup of coffee, but for those who wish to become the master of espresso, now there's a highly scientific way...
FEB 15, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 15, 2020
FDA nod for AI-powered technology to detect strokes
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided clearance for a novel technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect strokes. The platf...
MAR 24, 2020
Neuroscience
MAR 24, 2020
Researchers Use Silicon to Record Electrical Signals Between Neurons
Researchers from Stanford University have created a way to connect the brain directly to silicon-based technologies. Hoping to assist the development of me...
MAR 17, 2020
Technology
MAR 17, 2020
Flat-Panel Technology
Scientists are looking to reinvent mirrors! At least according to research being done at Los Alamos National Laboratory, investigators are looking towards ...
MAR 24, 2020
Technology
MAR 24, 2020
3D Printing Cellulose
Cellulose is a material found in trees and plants that can help build complex structures. The uniqueness of the material has inspired researchers at ETH Zu...
MAR 31, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 31, 2020
Pandemic in Silico: How Maths Modeling Helps Our COVID Fight
The phrase "flattening the curve" is used frequently these days by epidemiologists to describe various measures to keep the daily Covid19 cases a...
Loading Comments...