Scientists have constructed the most complete map of a fruit fly brain ever created, pinpointing millions of connections between 25,000 neurons. Scientists say that with this latest achievement, a wiring diagram of the entire brain is within reach.
The brain is the most complex organ of any living organism. A team of researchers at the Janelia Research Campus in Virginia, USA, with the help of Google and its powerful computer calculators, have created the most accurate 3D map of the brain of a fruit fly. The image displays thousands and thousands of neurons connected to each other.
In order to create this complicated 3D map, it has taken scientists more than two years of research. The map highlights millions of connections between 25,000 neurons and gives the opportunity for anyone to access the data, as the whole thing has been published under free distribution.
Each shape on the screen represents one part of a fruit fly neuron.
The current map details around one third of the complex structure of the fly’s brain. The end goal for the scientists is to be able to identify every single of the 100,000 neurons in the fly's brain and point out exactly where and how they connect together. This is called a wiring diagram or ‘connectorome’, and will reveal the complete construction of the brain and demonstrate how different areas are linked together.
Despite more work to be done, this represents a huge breakthrough for neuroscience - seeing as this image is the most detailed map of a fly’s brain ever created.