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Trends Genet. 2013 Jul;29(7):403-11. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Apr 26.

Optogenetics in primates: a shining future?

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Laboratorium voor Neuro- en Psychofysiologie, KU Leuven Medical School, Campus Gasthuisberg, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.


To understand the functional role of specific neurons in micro- and macro-brain circuitry, health, and disease, it is critical to control their activity precisely. This ambitious goal was first achieved by optogenetics, allowing researchers to increase or decrease neural activity artificially with high temporal and spatial precision. In contrast to the revolution optogenetics engendered in invertebrate and rodent research, only a few studies have reported optogenetic-induced neuronal and behavioral effects in primates. Such studies are nonetheless critical before optogenetics can be applied in a clinical setting. Here, we review the state-of-the-art tools for performing optogenetics in mammals, emphasizing recent neuronal and behavioral results obtained in nonhuman primates.

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