Artificial intelligence helps build brain atlas of fly behavior

VIDEO: Using machine vision and learning programs, Janelia scientists created maps that show which neurons control specific behaviors in the brain of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. view more  A smart computer program named JAABA has helped scientists create a brain-wide atlas of fruit fly behavior. The machine-learning program tracked the position and cataloged the behaviors of 400,000 fruit flies, in more than 225 days of video footage, helping researchers match specific behaviors to different groups of neurons. “We wanted to understand what neurons are doing at the cellular level,” says Janelia Group Leader Kristin Branson. She and colleagues reported the work July 13 in the journal Cell. Their results are the most comprehensive neural maps of behavior yet created. Such detailed maps could give researchers a starting point for tracing the neural circuitry flies use to produce specific behaviors, such as jumping or wing grooming, Branson says. Understanding the inner workings of the fly brain could even offer insight into the neural basis of human behavior, she says. Though the brain of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is only about the size of a poppy seed, it comprises roughly 100,000 neurons which interact in complex circuits to control an extensive…


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