The goal of the FlyEM Project is to produce and analyze connectomes of behaviorally-relevant neural circuits in the entire Drosophila nervous system using electron microscopy.
At Janelia, the FlyEM Project is developing technology that will enable us to create a map of every neuron and synapse in the Drosophila nervous system, using novel approaches to electron microscopy (EM) as the foundation.
In the same way that the fly genome paved the way for larger projects, including sequencing the human genome, FlyEM may ultimately contribute to our understanding of the human brain by establishing a fly ‘connectome’ – a map that shows how all neurons in the fly brain are connected to each other. We began our entry into EM reconstruction with the fly’s adult visual system, where much is known about cell types from previous EM and histological studies, as well as ongoing studies in the FlyLight Project. In addition to establishing and publishing a fly connectome, FlyEM will make technology and methodology available that is needed to perform large-scale EM reconstructions.