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A single neuron is all it takes to help a fruit fly change course

When confronted, a single pair of brain neurons command backward locomotion in fruit flies. The methodology behind this provides a way to link other direct connections between individual brain neurons and nervous system neurons.


The study was undertaken by the Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon. According to one of the researchers, the mapping of descending circuitry that can easily and rapidly switch movement from forward to backward is unparalleled. As specific neural networks become better understood, it could potentially help improve the precision of human prosthetics. It could also feed into robotics, guaranteeing accurate aggressive responses for monitoring bomb-searching robots or help control rovers exploring the surfaces on other planets.