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Genetic dissection of emotion circuits in flies and mice - Francis Crick Lecture 2011

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Emotions are fundamental to animal and human behavior, but how they are encoded in the brain at the level of specific neural circuits remains poorly understood. The application of genetically based tools for marking, mapping and manipulating specific populations of neurons, together with machine vision-based approaches for automated analysis of behavior, have opened up new opportunities to understand the neurobiology of emotion in model organisms. This presentation will focus on efforts to apply these approaches to elucidate neural circuit-level mechanisms controlling aggression and defensive behaviors, as well as associated arousal states, in both flies and mice. The information gleaned from such studies may someday enable more targeted therapies for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

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