Immediate-early genes have gained widespread popularity as activity markers for mapping neuronal circuits involved in specific behaviors in many different species. In situ immediate early gene detection methods provide cellular level resolution, a major benefit for mapping neuronal networks. Recent advances using fluorescence in situ hybridization also afford temporal resolution, enabling within-animal activity maps for two distinct behaviors. Moreover, use of transgenic mice with fluorescent reporter proteins driven by immediate early gene promoters is enabling repeated measurements, over long time scales, of cortical activity within the same animal. These methodological innovations, coupled with recent advances in fluorescence imaging and probe development, will enable large scale mapping of behaviorally relevant circuits with temporal and three-dimensional spatial resolution in experimental animals.
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