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Brain Mechanism For Motion Detection In Fruit Flies Revealed

Update Date: Jul 29, 2014 10:36 AM EDT

Researchers have identified the neurons used in certain type of motion detection, according to a new study. 

The findings deepen our understanding of how the visual system functions. 

"Our results show how neurons in the brain work together as part of an intricate process used to detect motion," said Claude Desplan, a professor in NYU's Department of Biology and the study's senior author, in the press release. 

The study sought to explain some of the neurological underpinnings of a long-established and influential model, the Hassenstein-Reichardt correlator. According to the model, motion detection relies on separate input channels that are processed in the brain in ways that coordinate these distinct inputs. 

The study considered the fruit fly Drosophila. The fly is commonly used in biological research as a model system to decipher basic principles that direct the functions of the brain. 

In sum, these neurons process the two inputs that precede the coordination outlined by the Hassenstein-Reichardt correlator, thereby revealing elements of the long-sought neural activity of motion detection in the fly, the press release explained. 

The study appears in the journal Nature

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