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Flybrain Neuron Database, a comprehensive online database of the Drosophila brain neurons

ANC Seminar Series
Speaker: 
Pro Kei Ito

Morphological and functional knowledge of the neurons of the Drosophila melanogaster brain has been accumulated drastically, thanks to the recent improvements in visualization techniques. Identified neurons, however, have been reported in diverse publications with inconsistent formats, making it very difficult to acquire comprehensive overview about what is known and what remains uninvestigated. To address this problem, we developed an online database, called Flybrain Neuron Database, which aims to collect information about all the Drosophila brain neurons reported so far.

Images and verbal descriptions about the neuron names, projection sites, etc., are provided. The database currently carry the records of about 360 types of neurons, which may already cover most of the known neurons in the fly brain.

In addition, the database also provides information about the three-dimensional labeling patterns of useful molecular markers that label specific subsets of neurons, such as antibodies as well as GAL4 and LexAV enhancer-trap strains. Unlike previous databases of other brains, we also implemented an interactive browsing system of the brain structures. The tool provides volume-rendered images of the brains generated from raw confocal section image stack upon users'
request. Users can rotate, magnify, and cut the brain at any angles so that relative positions and three-dimensional morphologies of the brain structures can easily be figured out.

To inherit our knowledge to our descendants, such database digital atlases should be maintained for a very long period, well over 100 years, like printed atlases. Long term maintenance of databases, however, is not easy. Technical and organizational measures to enable such long-term archive should be considered seriously. Some of the topics concerning this problem will be discussed.

Date and time: 
Tuesday, 19 January, 2010 - 11:00
Length: 
60 minutes
Location: 
IF431
Projects: