The article from researchers in Taiwan recently came to my attention, presenting an OpenAccess database called “FlyCircuit“:
FlyCircuit is a public database for online archiving, cell type inventory, browsing, searching, analysis and 3D visualization of individual neurons in the Drosophila brain. For more details, please read the associated manuscript — “Three-dimensional reconstruction of brain-wide wiring networks inDrosophila at single-cell resolution”
So far, only the nervous system of the nematode C.elegans (ca. 300 cells) has been mapped comprehensively. In this study, 16,000 (out of approx. 100,000 total) single neurons were mapped to produce a virtual fly brain. The resulting map consists of 41 local processing units (LPUs), six hubs, and 58 tracts covering the whole Drosophila brain. “… the Drosophila brain is assembled from families of multiple LPUs and their interconnections. This provides an essential first step in the analysis of information processing within and between neurons in a complete brain.”
Hopefully this breakthrough will facilitate more open science in the neuro-anatomical research in future, at the moment FlyCircuit probably is the leading resource for scientists interested in higher-order brain-function.
See the Faculty of 1000 evaluations, dissents and comments for [Chiang AS et al. Three-dimensional reconstruction of brain-wide wiring networks in Drosophila at single-cell resolution. Curr Biol. 2011 Jan 11; 21(1):1-11; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.11.056]. Faculty of 1000, 09 Sep 2011.