Associative odor learning in Drosophila abolished by chemical ablation of mushroom bodies

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Science  04 Feb 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5147, pp. 692-695
DOI: 10.1126/science.8303280


The corpora pedunculata, or mushroom bodies (MBs), in the brain of Drosophila melanogaster adults consist of approximately 2500 parallel Kenyon cell fibers derived from four MB neuroblasts. Hydroxyurea fed to newly hatched larvae selectively deletes these cells, resulting in complete, precise MB albation. Adult flies developing without MBs behave normally in most respects, but are unable to perform in a classical conditioning paradigm that tests associative learning of odor cues and electric shock. This deficit cannot be attributed to reductions in olfactory sensitivity, shock reactivity, or locomotor behavior. The results demonstrate that MBs mediate associative odor learning in flies.

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