While smaller organisms such as nematode worms have been imaged before, a entire central nervous system has been recorded for the first time in the fruit fly, drosophila melanogaster.
The millimetre long organism was analysed using a technique called light-sheet microscopy in which laser light from both sides illuminates a specimen, and twin cameras record images taken from the front and back. Because the neurons were genetically modified to fluoresce when they fired, a picture could be built up of their overall activity - enabling a 3-D picture of the system at work.
“By imaging different parts of the nervous system at the same time, we can see how behaviours are controlled and then build models of how it all works.”
This sets the stage for further study of more complex organisms, increasing our understanding of how smaller pieces of the puzzle interact together as a large network.
Read more at The Guardian