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Uni of Oxford Biochemistry Centenary Imaging Competition Time Flies

Collage of developing fruit fly brains showing localisation of multiple fluorescently-tagged proteins throughout the central nervous system

29 May 2023

Time Flies

The fruit fly Drosophila shares many genes in common with us – it has fewer, but the processes they define in development are similar, simpler versions of our own with many lessons to share. In these developing Drosophila brains, researchers watch as, under a high-powered microscope, coloured stains highlight proteins in the early nervous system (green), with DNA inside cells in blue. Highlighted in some of the red areas, synapses are the junctions where neurons meet to pass on 'messages' in the form of bursts of chemicals called neurotransmitters. The team investigate how these synapses change over time – their synaptic plasticity – guiding more or less 'traffic' through these junctions. This may be a clue to how memories are formed, maintained and altered over time, for the flies and as we develop and age.

Written by John Ankers

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