It’s a long-term commitment to find genetic ways to both trigger and track fly behavior. Optogenetics is a popular approach in neurobiology, but there’s a catch. Light precisely targets and manipulates the chemical or electrical signals in a set of neurons that express a light-sensitive ion channel. But when neurobiologists use optogenetics to study vision and neuronal processing in fruit flies, as does Andrew Straw at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, the experiment is quickly ruined. Any attempt to illuminate neurons invariably sheds light on the fly retina. Read more.
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