Fruits Flies use their Brain before taking Decisions

Fruits Flies use their Brain before taking Decisions

Researchers at the University of Oxford have revealed that fruit flies use their brain to take decisions before navigating, almost in a similar fashion to human brain. Fruit flies make conscious decisions and can spend longer deliberating over the more difficult of them, said researchers.

Main aim of conducting the study was to find out cognitive processes in small insects so as to have better understanding of human mind. In the experiment, researchers exposed fruit flies to two different odors: one the dangerous level and other a lot weaker.

Researchers were surprised to see that flies moved four to five times more towards weaker smells compared to more dangerous smell. They found that the indecisiveness in the flies could be traced to mutations in the FOXP gene. Lower the level of the FOXP gene in the fly, the longer it would take them to make the decision.

Gero Miesenböck, research leader at the University of Oxford's Centre for Circuits and Behavior, said the above research is clearest evidence of a cognitive process running in a very simple brain.

Earlier, people used to consider insects as tiny robots that respond reflexively to signals from environment. But, the later findings disapprove the above concept claiming that fruit flies takes longest time to take their decisions.

Shamik DasGupta, the study's lead author, said that the decision is triggered inside the flies’ brain as soon as the level of accumulated information rises to certain level. Simon Fisher, discoverer of the FOXP gene, declares the findings to be exciting as it contributes to ‘fascinating picture’ of the gene and its history.

Laboratories: 

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