Insights from Comparative Connectomics in Drosophila

Philipp Schlegel
University of Cambridge

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster combines surprisingly sophisticated behaviour with a highly tractable nervous system. A large part of the fly’s success as a model organism in modern neuroscience stems from the concentration of collaboratively generated molecular genetic and digital resources. Thanks to a large scale collaboration between our group, colleagues at Princeton and the wider Drosophila neuroscience community this now includes the first full brain connectome of an adult animal. In combination with the previously published “hemibrain” dataset, this new ~140,000-neuron “FlyWire” connectome marks the beginning of the N>1 era in fly connectomics which comes with both opportunities and challenges. In this talk we will:
1. Introduce the FlyWire resource and provide entry points for interested researchers.
2. Share findings and lessons-learned from a comprehensive comparison between the connectomes of two brains which provides guidance on interpreting edge weights in the connectome graph.
3. Present a new robust definition for what may constitute a “cell type” within the context of a connectome.
4. Discuss biological variability vs technical noise inherent to all connectomes.

Presentation (PDF File)

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