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Cells that show where things are going

The ability to see the direction in which something is moving is vital for survival. Only in this way is it possible to avoid predators, capture prey or, as humans in a modern world, cross a road safely. However, the direction of motion is not explicitly represented at the level of the photoreceptors but rather must be calculated by subsequent layers of nerve cells. Scientists have now discovered that, in fruit flies, four classes of nerve cell are involved in calculating directionally selective signals. This is strikingly different from mathematical models of motion detection discussed in the literature so far.
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