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Optogenetics is a newly-introduced technology in the life sciences and is gaining increasing attention. It refers to the combination of optical technologies and genetic methods to control the activity of specific cell groups in living tissue, during which high-resolution spatial and temporal manipulation of cells is achieved. Optogenetics has been applied to numerous regions, including cerebral cortex, hippocampus, ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, striatum, spinal cord, and retina, and has revealed new directions of research in neuroscience and the treatment of related diseases. Since optogenetic tools are controllable at high spatial and temporal resolution, we discuss its applications in these regions in detail and the recent understanding of higher brain functions, such as reward-seeking, learning and memory, and sleep. Further, the possibilities of improved utility of this newly-emerging technology are discussed. We intend to provide a paradigm of the latest advances in neuroscience using optogenetics.


Quanhui Chen, Ziling Zeng, Zhian Hu. Optogenetics in neuroscience: what we gain from studies in mammals. Neuroscience bulletin. 2012 Aug;28(4):423-34

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PMID: 22833040

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