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Insects and crustaceans ‘more alike than we thought’
Mantis shrimp.

Study could aid in the understanding of brain evolution

Shrimps, lobsters and crabs have more in common with their insect cousins than previously thought, according to new research.


Scientists at the University of Arizona found that both insects and crustaceans possess mushroom-shaped brain structures, known in insects to be required for learning, memory and negotiating complex environments.


The study, published in the journal eLife, contradicts a widely-held scientific belief that these brain structures - known as “mushroom bodies” - are absent from crustacean brains. 


"The mushroom body is an incredibly ancient, fundamental brain structure," said Nicholas Strausfeld, professor of neuroscience at the University of Arizona. “When you look across the arthropods as a group, it's everywhere."


Crustaceans and insects descend from a common ancestor that lived about half a billion years ago.

Scientists believe the misunderstanding that crustaceans do not have mushroom bodies is because of a more evolutionary “modern” group of crustaceans. They say that many lobsters and crabs in this group have brain centres that do not look anything like the insect mushroom body.

While the mushroom bodies appear more diverse than those of insects, brain analysis of crustaceans revealed that their defining neuroanatomical and molecular elements are all there.

Researchers hope the study will aid in the understanding of how brains may have evolved and what environmental conditions shaped that process. 

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Do you know a practice wellbeing star?

News Story 1
 Has someone in your practice team gone above and beyond to make your workplace a positive one during the coronavirus pandemic? Then why not nominate them for a 2020 Practice Wellbeing Star!

The joint RCVS Mind Matters Initiative/SPVS Practice Wellbeing Star nominations recognise individuals who have held up morale during a time when practices are facing unprecedented staffing and financial issues.

Nominees receive a certificate in recognition of their colleagues' appreciation of their achievements and will be entered into the prize draw for a pair of tickets to attend the joint SPVS and Veterinary Management Group Congress in January 2021.

 

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WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at wellvet.co.uk until 30th August 2020.