BACKGROUND: Animal behavior is governed by the activity of interconnected brain circuits. Comprehensive brain wiring maps are thus needed in order to formulate hypotheses about information flow and also to guide genetic manipulations aimed at understanding how genes and circuits orchestrate complex behaviors. RESULTS: To assemble this map, we deconstructed the adult Drosophila brain into approximately 16,000 single neurons and reconstructed them into a common standardized framework to produce a virtual fly brain. We have constructed a mesoscopic map and found that it consists of 41 local processing units (LPUs), six hubs, and 58 tracts covering the whole Drosophila brain. Despite individual local variation, the architecture of the Drosophila brain shows invariance for both the aggregation of local neurons (LNs) within specific LPUs and for the connectivity of projection neurons (PNs) between the same set of LPUs. An open-access image database, named FlyCircuit, has been constructed for online data archiving, mining, analysis, and three-dimensional visualization of all single neurons, brain-wide LPUs, their wiring diagrams, and neural tracts. CONCLUSION: We found that the Drosophila brain is assembled from families of multiple LPUs and their interconnections. This provides an essential first step in the analysis of information processing within and between neurons in a complete brain.
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