For example, cave dwelling or subterranean animals often have reduced eyes and brain regions involved in visual processing. These differences suggest that although there are benefits to possessing a particular sense organ or brain region, there are also significant costs that shape the evolution of the nervous system, but little is known about this trade-off, particularly at the level of single neurons.
Simon Laughlin and colleagues measured the trade-off between performance and energetic costs by recording electrical signals from single photoreceptors in different fly species.
They discovered that photoreceptors in the blowfly transmit five times more information than the smaller photoreceptors of the diminutive fruit fly Drosophila.
The blowfly pays a high price for better performance; its photoreceptor uses ten times more energy to code th e same quantity of information.
The researchers conclude that, for basic biophysical reasons, neuronal energy consumption increases much more steeply than performance, and this intensifies the evolutionary pressure to reduce performance to the minimum required for adequate function.
Thus the biophysical properties of sensory neurons help to explain why the sense organs and brains of different species vary in size and performance.
Andrew Hyde | alfa
In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins
12.11.2018 | Technische Universität Berlin
How to produce fluorescent nanoparticles for medical applications in a nuclear reactor
09.11.2018 | Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague)
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.
Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
12.11.2018 | Life Sciences
12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy