The Optic Lamina of Fast Flying Insects as a Guide to Neural Circuit Design

Simon B. Laughlin

in Handbook of Brain Microcircuits

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780195389883
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965137 | DOI:
The Optic Lamina of Fast Flying Insects as a Guide to Neural Circuit Design

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The lamina offers electrophysiologists a number of technical advantages. One can record from identified lamina neurons in intact, unanesthetized flies and test their performance over the full operating range of fly vision, from 4 photons/photoreceptor s-1 at the threshold for motion detection to 107 photons/photoreceptor s-1 in sunlight. High-quality recordings support a variety of identification techniques, starting with step and impulse responses, and progressing to white noise analysis and natural stimuli. The resulting measurements of signals, noise, and transfer functions have been combined with powerful modeling and analysis techniques from systems and communications engineering to demonstrate that the lamina is designed to code natural signals efficiently. This chapter on lamina function begins with an overview of structure and function, and then moves on to the design strategies that improve circuit performance.

Chapter.  4320 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development of the Nervous System

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