An animal committed to a goal seems to be possessed in its motor actions. For example, a hungry animal will focus on searching for food until it is obtained, with every limb working towards accomplishing this goal. Yet, moments later, another goal is chosen, say building shelter, and the same set of limbs are just as committed to a different sequence of actions.
What happens to the motor system in the brain when an animal ‘commits’ to a behavior? At the Rayshubskiy lab in the Rowland Institute, we study this question in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Why? We now have a circuit diagram for many neural circuits in the fly’s brain and flies can execute complex behaviors on a floating ball while we perform calcium imaging or electrophysiology on a population of neurons.
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