Scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have managed to alter the behavior of flies by shining a laser beam directly at their brain.
The insect’s brain had previously been altered using heat-activated proteins.
This type of behavioral alterations, the “Fly Mind-Altering Device” (FlyMAD), enabled specific neurons involved in mating.
In the experiment, researchers managed to give the fly a complex courtship behavior, which caused it to “court” the nearest object, in this case, a ball of wax.
The researchers plan to experiment on simultaneously activating two neurons with opposing effects in order to give a better understanding of the neuronal hierarchy of our own brains and the processes involved in making decisions.