Reverse-engineered Nematode Navigation

Posted 16 Feb 2005 at 17:09 UTC by steve Share This

Cornelia Bargmann and other researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bargmann Lab have reverse-engineered the navigation circuits of a nematode known as Caenorhabditis elegans. Their paper, titled "A circuit for navigation in Caenorhabditis elegans" (PDF format), offer a description of the navigation and search algoirthms used by the worm when it is exploring. The navigation consists of direction reversals, omega turns and combinations of the two resulting in pirouettes. The worms exhibit both chemotaxis (movement influenced by nearby chemicals) and thermotaxis (movement influenced by heat). The researcher provide neural schematics and detailed discussion of the algorithms involved. Anyone working on subsumption navigation in robots will likely be fascinated by the research. The paper (PDF format) is also available through PNAS, where there are some additional supporting documents such as spreadsheets of raw data.

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