A primitive part of the zebrafish brain helps them find their way home
A team of scientists from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Janelia Research Campus We now have a better understanding of how animals perceive their environment and how to get back to the path they took. A study Published December 22, 2012 in the journal Cell Details how the hindbrain, or region of the hindbrain, helps animals to determine their location and use that information for planning where they will go next.
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The Hindbrain This is an older area in the brain’s back that has been Evolutionarily conservedAlmost unchanged during evolution. The authors examined tiny translucent Zebrafish. They have Historically, used in researchThey are a valuable resource in genetics research, particularly for their rapid growth rate, transparent bodies that allow scientists to peer inside, and similar genetic structure as humans. The zebrafish genome was 2013: Completely sequenced.
The environment was designed to simulate currents. The fish were then pushed off their course when the currents suddenly changed. They were able to correct their course and return to where they were. The whole-brain imaging technique was used by the researchers to assess the brain activity of the zebrafish while they were swimming. Scientists could scan the entire brain to find which circuits were activated after the zebrafish course correction and then separate the activities.
The team had hoped to see the forebrain. This is where the hippocampus, which contains an internal map of an animal’s environment, is stored. Instead, they saw multiple regions of the medulla activate. This is where the animal’s location information was being transmitted via a newly identified circuit. The hindbrain is made up of the inferior olive Motor circuits were used to move the information to its cerebellum, which made the fish move. These pathways were blocked and the fish could not move back to their original position.
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“We found that the fish was trying to calculate the difference in its current location and its preferred place and uses this difference as an error signal,” said En Yang, the first author and post-doctoral researcher at Janelia’s. Ahrens Lab, In a statement. “The brain sends this error signal to its motor controller centers so that the fish can correct itself after being flowed unintentionally, even if it happens many seconds later.”
Studies in the past have shown that the inferior oil and the cerebellum are the same. Activities related to reaching or locomotionThis type of navigation is not possible. The team believes that this hindbrain network could also be used to help fish navigate to specific places, such as where to find shelter.
“This is a very unexplored circuit for this type of navigation that might underlie higher-order hippocampal circuits to explore and landmark-based navigation,” Misha Ahrens (Janelia Senior Group Leader), said. In a statement.
Further research is required to determine if these networks are involved with similar behavior in animals.
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