Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Connectomics: Mapping the neural network governing male roundworm mating

Date:
July 26, 2012
Source:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Summary:
Scientists have determined the complete wiring diagram for the part of the nervous system controlling mating in the male roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, an animal model intensively studied by scientists worldwide.

In a study published July 26 online in Science, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have determined the complete wiring diagram for the part of the nervous system controlling mating in the male roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, an animal model intensively studied by scientists worldwide.

The study represents a major contribution to the new field of connectomics -- the effort to map the myriad neural connections in a brain, brain region or nervous system to find the specific nerve connections responsible for particular behaviors. A long-term goal of connectomics is to map the human "connectome" -- all the nerve connections within the human brain.

Because C. elegans is such a tiny animal- adults are one millimeter long and consist of just 959 cells -- its simple nervous system totaling 302 neurons make it one of the best animal models for understanding the millions-of-times-more-complex human brain.

The Einstein scientists solved the structure of the male worm's neural mating circuits by developing software that they used to analyze serial electron micrographs that other scientists had taken of the region. They found that male mating requires 144 neurons -- nearly half the worm's total number -- and their paper describes the connections between those 144 neurons and 64 muscles involving some 8,000 synapses. A synapse is the junction at which one neuron (nerve cell) passes an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron.

"Establishing the complete structure of the synaptic network governing mating behavior in the male roundworm has been highly revealing," said Scott Emmons, Ph.D., senior author of the paper and professor in the department of genetics and in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein. "We can see that the structure of this network has spatial characteristics that help explain how it exerts neural control over the multi-step decision-making process involved in mating."

In addition to determining how the neurons and muscles are connected, Dr. Emmons and his colleagues for the first time accurately measured the weights of those connections, i.e., an estimate of the strength with which one neuron or muscle communicates with another.

The research was supported by the Medical Research Council (U.K.); the National Institute of Mental Health (R21MH63223) and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OD010943), both of the National Institutes of Health; and the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. A. Jarrell, Y. Wang, A. E. Bloniarz, C. A. Brittin, M. Xu, J. N. Thomson, D. G. Albertson, D. H. Hall, S. W. Emmons. The Connectome of a Decision-Making Neural Network. Science, 2012; 337 (6093): 437 DOI: 10.1126/science.1221762

Cite This Page:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. "Connectomics: Mapping the neural network governing male roundworm mating." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726142043.htm>.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. (2012, July 26). Connectomics: Mapping the neural network governing male roundworm mating. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726142043.htm
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. "Connectomics: Mapping the neural network governing male roundworm mating." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726142043.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins