Flies may not speak or have noses but they can tell us a lot about olfactory evolution
Evolution is the process by which populations of organisms change over time due to genetic variations. It is relatively straightforward to grasp the significance of evolution with regard to structural changes such as fins becoming feet, and even functional implications such as being able to walk on land. However, it is more complicated to grasp how evolutionary structural changes in the brain affect context-dependent sensory-evoked behaviours, many of which are critical to reproduction and survival. The EU-funded EvolutioNeuroCircuit project is hot on the trail of answers to these mysteries. The team is studying the developing olfactory system of four different species of the fly Drosophila melanogaster with evolutionarily different odour-evoked behaviours. The sweet smell of success is in the air.
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