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Shoot the Neurons Off a Fly’s Brain

Navigating through a hi-res 3D image of the fruit fly brain. The colored balls indicate the density of synapses on a subset of the neurons in the brain: those that respond to dopamine. The balls summarize the placement of a total of 500,000 synapses, out of 40 million in the entire brain, where red indicates the highest synapse density, purple the lowest. Various brain structures are highlighted. [Video footage courtesy of HHMI, postproduction by UC Berkeley]

Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute select HHMI) and the University of California Berkeley have used expansion microscopy and lattice light-sheet microscopy to create a 3D map of the fly brain. While a more detailed map has been developed over the past 10 years using electron microscopy, this new map took about 60 hours to complete.