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New lab manual for studying the biology of the nervous system in Drosophila is released

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (May 20, 2010) -- The nervous system is the most complex organ system in the human body, with circuits, synapses, and signals that control much of our physiology and behaviorboth conscious and unconscious. To study the biological intricacies of the nervous system in the laboratory, scientists have turned to the fruit fly (Drosophila), an organism that displays many of the complexities of our own nervous system.

A newly released book, Drosophila Neurobiology: A Laboratory Manual, offers detailed protocols and background material to researchers interested in using Drosophila as an experimental model for investigating the nervous system. The manual covers three approaches to the field: Analysis of Neural Development, Recording and Imaging Activities in the Nervous System, and Analyzing Behavior. Techniques described include molecular, genetic, electrophysiological, imaging, behavioral, and developmental methods. Movies that provide examples of some of the techniques are available online.

Drosophila Neurobiology is based on Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's long-running Neurobiology of Drosophila course, which has trained a generation of neuroscientists. The manual was edited by Bing Zhang, Marc Freeman, and Scott Waddellall of whom have served as directors of the CSHL course. Most of the authors of the chapters have served as course instructors.

"[B]eyond being a valuable reference for those students lucky enough to have taken the course, the book allows others to 'attend the course by proxy,'" write the editors in the book's preface. "The content includes a brief introduction to the areas of Drosophila neurobiology research that are covered each year in addition to detailed protocols for the techniques that are taught in the laboratory."

Drosophila Neurobiology: A Laboratory Manual will serve as a valuable resource for researchers at all levels, from the beginning graduate student through the established primary investigator.


Contact: Ingrid Benirschke
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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