A Partial Digital Map of a Segment within the Larvel Drosophila Ventral Nerve Cord

Ariew, David Allen, Department of Biology, University of Virginia
Condron, Barry, Department of Biology, University of Virginia
Deppmann, Christopher, Department of Biology, University of Virginia
Kucenas, Sarah, Department of Biology, University of Virginia

Neuromics, the study of complete neuronal morphological maps of the brain, and connectomics, the study of complete neuronal connectivity maps, are rapidly evolving fields. Previous efforts have focused on simple systems, such as C. elegans, the only complete neuronal set ever characterized. While these efforts were monumental, our current interest is in global morphological characterization, or the neurome, rather than a map of the connectome (a neuronal wiring diagram); C. elegans has simplistic neurons that do not show great morphological variation, so this system is not our ideal. Drosophila, on the other hand, displays significant neuronal diversity, and also represents one of the greatest physiological, morphological, and genetic bodies of knowledge. Drosophila larvae, in particular, strike a good balance between variation and simplicity, as their nerve cords are bilaterally symmetric repeated segments, but with diverse and intricate neurons. Using the Condron lab's collection of representative image stacks of single cell types within the third instar larval Drosophila ventral nerve cord (VNC), and V3D software for reconstruction and registration to theoretical landmarks, we have made significant progress in generating the first digitally reconstructed fly segment.

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MS (Master of Science)
neuromics, brain
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