Boston—The sea slug, Aplysia, is not the only invertebrate with a memory that can provide clues to understanding how human memory operates. Although Aplysia was the organism of choice for the investigations into learning and memory of neurobiologist Eric Kandel, MD, of Columbia University, who recently shared the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine, studies of the modest cognitive abilities of the fruit fly, Drosophila, also have been providing insight into the biologic and genetic basis of memory for decades.
This teaching machine is used to isolate memory mutants—flies that cannot associate an odor with electric shock—among the Drosophila studied. About 100 flies enter it at one time.
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