Image of the Day: Snapshot

Scientists map the fruit fly brain, giving an in-depth look at its neurons.

Jul 20, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra
A collection of neurons from the Full Adult Fly Brain dataset
EM RECONSTRUCTION OF DROSOPHILA NEURONS BY THE FULL ADULT FLY TRACING COMMUNITY. VISUALIZATION BY PHILIPP SCHLEGEL (DROSOPHILA CONNECTOMICS GROUP, CAMBRIDGE)

Researchers have mapped each of the roughly 100,000 neurons in the poppy seed–size brain of an adult female fruit fly, according to a study published in Cell yesterday (July 19).

“The entire fly brain has never been imaged before at this resolution that lets you see connections between neurons,” coauthor Davi Bock, who studies neuronal circuits at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus, says in a statement

The fruit fly brain contains 100,000 neurons, which can now be traced in detail (colored threads) using a dataset that includes roughly 21 million images. 
Z. ZHENG ET AL./CELL 2018

Bock’s group sped up an imaging technique called serial section transmission electron microscopy to take 21 million images of thousands of different sections of the fruit fly brain. By putting together the images, the team has created an open-source database to give other laboratories the opportunity to peek into the fruit fly’s brain.

Z. Zheng et al., “A complete electron microscopy volume of the brain of adult Drosophila melanogaster,” Cell, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2018.06.019, 2018.