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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Dec;17(6):629-36. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2008.01.001. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Adaptive motor behavior in insects.

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Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


As insects move through tortuous, unpredictable terrain, their neural system allows them to exhibit striking adaptability and researchers must use every technique at their disposal to unravel the underlying mechanisms. Descending commands from brain centers that process tremendous amounts of information from head sensors work together with local motor control altering their operation to deal with barriers or move toward important targets. By analyzing movements in detail with high-speed video, recording from identified neurons in thoracic ganglia and examining activity in different brain regions, we are beginning to understand how these remarkable animals navigate their environment. Coupled with new and exciting neurogenetic tools, the near future promises an exciting time for studying the neural basis of insect movement.

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