Numerous achievements in biology have resulted from the evolution of biophotonics, a general term describing the use of light in the study of living systems. Over the last fifteen years, biophotonics has progressively blended with molecular genetics to give rise to optogenetics, a set of techniques enabling the functional study of genetically-defined cellular populations, compartments or processes with optical methods. In neuroscience, optogenetics allows real-time monitoring and control of the activity of specific neuronal populations in a wide range of animal models. This technical breakthrough provides a new level of sophistication in experimental approaches in the field of fundamental neuroscience, significantly enhancing our ability to understand the complexity of neuronal circuits.
© 2015 médecine/sciences – Inserm.