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Les Moucherons Sont Plus Intelligents Qu'on Ne Le Pense

Mosquitoes are smarter than you think

This was discovered by an American research team, which observed in Drosophila attention spans, working memory and awareness similar to those in mammals.

Drosophila melanogaster/Credits: Wikipedia Andre Karwath

Everyone has probably happened to find themselves with mosquitoes in the house, especially in the kitchen, and perhaps see them hovering around a basket of bananas. But not everyone knows that some of these fruit insects (Drosophila black belly) is a model species for science, among the first to be used in genetic studies in the early twentieth century and today among the most widely used and genetically known eukaryotes in the world.

However, the researchers also discovered that although at first glance they seem to have very little in common with humans, there are remarkable similarities between us and fruit flies, and not just from a personal point of view; Completely hereditary. One relates to cognitive abilities, which researchers have found to be more advanced than previously assumed.

New evidence of their intelligence has been presented in a study just published in the journal nature By a team of scientists from the Kavli Institute for the Brain and Mind (KIBM) at the University of California, San Diego, who used different methodologies to measure brain activity in fruit flies, they discovered that these insects have a lifetime of attention, a memory and conscience action similar to the cognitive abilities that characterize mammals. In particular, the researchers evaluated formation, dispersal, and eventual memory loss in the brains of these tiny insects, combining observations of their behavior in a virtual reality environment with neurogenetic manipulation and brain imaging.

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Although there are no obvious anatomical similarities, this research talks about our everyday cognitive functions: what we pay attention to and how we do it. The study’s lead author, Professor Ralph Greenspan of the University of California San Diego’s Department of Life Sciences and associate director of KIBM, said. Since all brains evolved from a common ancestor, we can map the correspondences between fly and mammal brain regions based on molecular features and how our memories are stored.“.

In addition to finding cognitive similarities, the researchers also note that ” The activity of the neurons underlying conscious and functional memory processes in midges bears a remarkable similarity to that of mammalsDroff Grover, a member of the KIBM research faculty and lead author of the new study, explained. ” This work demonstrates that Drosophila can serve as a powerful model for studying higher cognitive functions. In short, these mosquitoes continue to amaze us with their true intelligence.”