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A Systematic Nomenclature for the Drosophila Ventral Nerve Cord

Court, Robert and Namiki, Shigehiro and Armstrong, J. Douglas and Börner, Jana and Card, Gwyneth and Costa, Marta and Dickinson, Michael and Duch, Carsten and Korff, Wyatt and Mann, Richard and Merritt, David and Murphey, Rod K. and Seeds, Andrew M. and Shirangi, Troy and Simpson, Julie H. and Truman, James W. and Tuthill, John C. and Williams, Darren W. and Shepherd, David (2020) A Systematic Nomenclature for the Drosophila Ventral Nerve Cord. Neuron, 107 (6). pp. 1071-1079. ISSN 0896-6273.

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Drosophila melanogaster is an established model for neuroscience research with relevance in biology and medicine. Until recently, research on the Drosophila brain was hindered by the lack of a complete and uniform nomenclature. Recognizing this, Ito et al. (2014) produced an authoritative nomenclature for the adult insect brain, using Drosophila as the reference. Here, we extend this nomenclature to the adult thoracic and abdominal neuromeres, the ventral nerve cord (VNC), to provide an anatomical description of this major component of the Drosophila nervous system. The VNC is the locus for the reception and integration of sensory information and involved in generating most of the locomotor actions that underlie fly behaviors. The aim is to create a nomenclature, definitions, and spatial boundaries for the Drosophila VNC that are consistent with other insects. The work establishes an anatomical framework that provides a powerful tool for analyzing the functional organization of the VNC.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemData/Code
Court, Robert0000-0002-0173-9080
Namiki, Shigehiro0000-0003-1559-799X
Card, Gwyneth0000-0002-7679-3639
Costa, Marta0000-0001-5948-3092
Dickinson, Michael0000-0002-8587-9936
Korff, Wyatt0000-0001-8396-1533
Seeds, Andrew M.0000-0002-4932-6496
Simpson, Julie H.0000-0002-6793-7100
Tuthill, John C.0000-0002-5689-5806
Williams, Darren W.0000-0001-5917-4935
Shepherd, David0000-0002-6961-7880
Additional Information:© 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Under a Creative Commons license - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Received 13 February 2020, Revised 30 June 2020, Accepted 5 August 2020, Available online 14 September 2020. We thank Gerald M. Rubin, Janine Stevens, the Visiting Science and Conference Programs of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus for hosting the workshop. This work was initially conceived of as part of the Descending Interneuron Project Team at Janelia. This work was also supported, in part, by grants EP/F500385/1 and BB/F529254/1 for the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics Doctoral Training Centre in Neuroinformatics and Computational Neuroscience ( from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and the UK Medical Research Council (MRC). Finally, by the Wellcome Trust as part of the “Virtual Fly Brain: a global informatics hub for Drosophila neurobiology” WT105023MA. Author Contributions. Conceptualization, W.K., J.W.T., and D.S.; Software, R.C.; Validation, All; Resources, D.S., R.C., and J.B.; Data Curation, R.C., M.C., and J.D.A; Writing—Original Draft, D.S. and R.C.; Writing—Review & Editing, M.C., M.D., R.K.M., A.M.S., J.H.S., T.S., J.C.T., J.W.T., and D.W.W.; Visualization, D.S. and R.C.; Funding Acquisition, All. Resource Availability. Lead Contact: Further information and requests for data and resources should be directed to and will be fulfilled by the Lead Contact, David Shepherd ( Materials Availability. This study did not generate any new reagents. Data and Code Availability. All anatomical datasets and segmented domains have been deposited at Virtual Fly Brain ( and are openly available. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/F500385/1
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/F529254/1
Medical Research Council (UK)UNSPECIFIED
Wellcome TrustWT105023MA
Subject Keywords:ontology; hemilineage; motorneuron; neuromere; anatomy; neuropil; commissure; tract; insect; tectulum
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200914-111809468
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Robert Court, Shigehiro Namiki, J. Douglas Armstrong, Jana Börner, Gwyneth Card, Marta Costa, Michael Dickinson, Carsten Duch, Wyatt Korff, Richard Mann, David Merritt, Rod K. Murphey, Andrew M. Seeds, Troy Shirangi, Julie H. Simpson, James W. Truman, John C. Tuthill, Darren W. Williams, David Shepherd, A Systematic Nomenclature for the Drosophila Ventral Nerve Cord, Neuron, Volume 107, Issue 6, 2020, Pages 1071-1079.e2, ISSN 0896-6273, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105373
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:14 Sep 2020 21:55
Last Modified:30 Sep 2020 17:12

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