The Virtual Fly Brain browser and query interface

Bioinformatics. 2012 Feb 1;28(3):411-5. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btr677. Epub 2011 Dec 16.


Motivation: Sources of neuroscience data in Drosophila are diverse and disparate making integrated search and retrieval difficult. A major obstacle to this is the lack of a comprehensive and logically structured anatomical framework and an intuitive interface.

Results: We present an online resource that provides a convenient way to study and query fly brain anatomy, expression and genetic data. We extended the newly developed BrainName nomenclature for the adult fly brain into a logically structured ontology that relates a comprehensive set of published neuron classes to the brain regions they innervate. The Virtual Fly Brain interface allows users to explore the structure of the Drosophila brain by browsing 3D images of a brain with subregions displayed as coloured overlays. An integrated query mechanism allows complex searches of underlying anatomy, cells, expression and other data from community databases.

Availability: Virtual Fly Brain is freely available online at


Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Mapping
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Drosophila / anatomy & histology*
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Internet
  • Neurosciences
  • Software*