A noxious experience can leave two forms of memory: odours preceding electric shock are later avoided as punishment predictors; while odours following shock are later approached as relief signals. To identify candidate genes associated with punishment and/ or relief memory (in terms of expression levels and/or sequence polymorphisms), we amplify the natural genetic variation of fruit flies by inbreeding.
Both punishment and relief memories rely on a common higher order brain structure called the „mushroom body“. We use refined transgenic tools to label, monitor, block or activate individual neurons in awake behaving flies, to identify neurons that signal punishment or relief to the mushroom body and that influence the flies‘ behaviour.
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