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Researchers Map Neural Circuit Involved in Combining Multiple Senses

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04/29/15 | Researchers Map Neural Circuit Involved in Combining Multiple Senses

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3D rendering of the entire multisensory integration circuit (colored cells) involved in initiating an escape behavior in Drosophila. Grey cells were not part of the circuit.
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Combining information across multiple senses helps in choosing an appropriate action. While many examples exist of such synergistic effects, very few studies have identified the neural architecture underlying multisensory convergence. In particular, whether distinct sensory streams converge early, late or at multiple levels in the sensory processing hierarchy was an open question. Using behavioral testing, neuronal activation screens, and electron microscopy reconstructions of the nervous system of fruit fly larvae, scientists in the Zlatic and Cardona Labs have mapped the entire neural circuit involved in combining vibration and pain sensations used in triggering an escape behavior.

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