Like a cartoon light bulb, but with more genetic engineering and neuroscience.
We know that electricity drives neural impulses in the brain, forming complex networks of neurons, but it's still difficult to trace the electrical activity of the nervous system. Scientists at the Yale School of Medicine have developed a fluorescent protein that may provide a more effective way to map the electrical impulses in brain cells.Read More
I guess this means I shouldn't have eaten that bowl of sugar that one time in third grade?
A study done at The University of Alabama in Huntsville has shown that the larval diet of fruit flies has an impact on their offspring long before they're born or even conceived. Fruit flies are often used in studies as a stand in for humans because we have a similar metabolism, so that could mean what we eat growing up could have an impact on our kids.Read More
Don't take this wrong, but in a lot of ways, you're not so different from a fruit fly. At least, the same sort of things that can make you depressed, like feeling helpless to change or bad situations in your life, also make fruit flies exhibit similar symptoms, such as slower movement and general lethargy. That's according to a study set to be published next month in the journal Current Biology which suggests that the roots of depression may go much deeper than once thought.Read More
There aren't much better ways to get a close look at something than by using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), but the microscopes have one major flaw when it comes to studying biology: They only work in a vacuum, while living creatures, well, don't work in a vacuum, unless you count "quickly shriveling up and dying" as work. A team of scientists in Japan, though, may have found a way around that obstacle. By treating insect larvae with electron beams, they can build "nanosuits" that can keep the animals alive in a vacuum for up to an hour.Read More
A group of German scientists headed by Prof. Klemens Störtkuhl have imparted fruit fly larvae with one of the coolest new genetic traits I've heard of today: Synesthesia. Specifically, these larvae can smell light.
With the goal of learning more about the operations of the neural network, these researchers from Bochum and Göttingen have worked to activate specific receptor neurons in the larvae. All 28 olefactory neurons are capable of producing a protein that can be triggered by light, so the scientists had to choose whether to be cruel or kind. Depending on which neuron was activated, the fly would have a very different response to the light. One cell might trigger an odor that repulsed the fly, while another might trigger an attractive scent.Read More