Scientists Image Entire Fly Brain at Synapse-Level for First Time

For the first time, scientists have imaged the entire brain of a fruit fly in enough detail to detect the synapses between every neuron. The resulting database of images could help researchers map the neural circuits that underlie the movements of a fly’s behavior. The team used an electron microscope and soaked a fly’s brain in a solution containing heavy metals, which bind to the membranes of neurons and to proteins at the synapses. They used a diamond knife to cut the brain into about 7,000 slices, each of which was struck with a beam of electrons from the microscope to create an image. The research was published in Science and was led by Davi Bock, a neuroscientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.