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In 1918, McEwen demonstrated that wing defects, caused by mutation or damage, profoundly affect phototaxis in walking Drosophila fruit flies (McEwen, 1918). We have recently described experiments showing that flies are constantly monitoring their flying capability and adjust their light/dark preference accordingly (Gorostiza & Brembs,. 2014). This discovery revealed that phototaxis, which appears simple and hard-wired, comprises a value-based decision-making stage, negotiating external stimuli with the animal’s internal state. We also discovered that neuronal activity in circuits expressing dopamine and octopamine, respectively, is necessary and sufficient for adjusting light/dark choices in flies. Here, we present data to disentangle the neural circuits involved in this value-based decision-making process. The data were collected in a screen comprising different subpopulations of dopaminergic and octopaminergic neurons, as well as other suitable candidates.

  • Gorostiza EA, Brembs B (2014): Behavioral flexibility in Drosophila Soc. Neurosci. Abstr., 651.17
  • McEwen, R. S. R. (1918). The reactions to light and to gravity in Drosophila and its mutants. J. Exptl. Zool., 25(1), 49-106. doi:10.1002/jez.1400250103
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