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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013 Feb;23(1):76-83. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Sep 28.

Courtship behavior in Drosophila melanogaster: towards a 'courtship connectome'.

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Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3PT, UK.


The construction of a comprehensive structural, and importantly functional map of the network of elements and connections forming the brain represents the Holy Grail for research groups working in disparate disciplines. Although technical limitations have restricted the mapping of human and mouse 'connectomes' to the level of brain regions, a finer degree of functional resolution is attainable in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, due to the armamentarium of genetic tools available for this model organism. Currently, one of the most amenable approaches employed by Drosophila neurobiologists involves mapping neuronal circuitry underlying complex innate behaviors - courtship being a classic paradigm. We discuss recent studies aimed at identifying the cellular components of courtship neural circuits, mapping function in these circuits and defining causal relationships between neural activity and behavior.

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