Time to Decide
Decisions take time because the information needed to make them is rarely available all at once but must be gathered sequentially. In fruit flies discriminating two odors, the amount of time taken varies with the difficulty of the comparison and is influenced by approximately 160 ¿¿ core (¿¿c) Kenyon cells of the mushroom bodies. These neurons are distinguished by the expression of FoxP, a transcription factor whose human orthologs are important determinants of cognitive development. FoxP mutants are slower to commit than wild-type flies and, in some allelic combinations, are also more error-prone. I will report on our progress in understanding how FoxP tailors the biophysical properties of ¿¿c Kenyon cells to the demands of sequential sampling.