Bending the not so simple mind of the fruit fly

Series Name Genome Science Theme Seminar
Speaker Professor Scott Waddell (University of Oxford)
Type Lectures & Talks
When 19 Mar 2014, 02:00PM - 03:00PM
Venue Frank and Katherine May Lecture Theatre
Open To Public
Ticket Price free
For Bookings Contact Dr Eran Tauber - 0116 252 3455

Directed behaviour emerges from neural integration of sensory stimuli, memory of prior experience and internal states. Genetically-encoded tools allows us to implant memories and alter internal states so that most Drosophila behave according to our direction. Distinct subsets of dopaminergic neurons that innervate the mushroom bodies control reward learning and motivated fly behaviour. The positive reinforcement system is therefore similar to that of mammals.

One might interpret the relative ease of altering behaviour to indicate that everything is simple in the fly brain. However, complexity arises in unexpected ways. We have mapped de novo transposition events into memory-relevant genes in neurons of the mushroom body. Since retrotransposition of LINE-1 transposable elements has been observed in mammals, it appears that genomic heterogeneity is a conserved feature of the brain. Neural transposition is likely to be heterogeneous within and between fly brains and it may contribute towards cellular and organismal diversity.

Professor Scott Waddell leads a group at the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics, University of Oxford.

Please note, this event has now been cancelled.

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