News & Events

Nomenclature for the Drosophila ventral nerve cord


In a new paper, out now in Neuron, Darren Williams and colleagues from Edinburgh, Bangor, Washington and numerous other institutes have proposed a systematic nomenclature for the Drosophila ventral nerve cord (VNC).

Drosophila melanogaster, or the fruit fly, is well-established model used widely neuroscience research and has relevance in biology and medicine too. Despite the long-standing use of Drosophila as a model, until recently, there was no complete or uniform nomenclature for the brain of the organism.

In 2014, Ito et al. published a nomenclature, using Drosophila as a reference, for the adult insect brain. In Court et al.’s Neuron paper, Williams and colleagues extend Ito’s nomenclature to the adult thoracic and abdominal neuromeres - the VNC – a major component of the fly’s nervous system. The VNC is the locus for receiving and integrating sensory information is needed to generate most locomotor actions that underlie behaviour. Court et al. offer an anatomical description containing nomenclature, definitions and spatial boundaries for the Drosophila VNC that are consistent with other insects too, establishing a powerful tool.

The work in the paper offers a framework where past, current and future work in the region can be integrated systematically into one place. The nomenclature will both support analysis of the functional organisation of this region as well as offer a template that can be adapted to other arthropod systems.