The historical reason why we work with sea slugs is that they have large, identifiable neurons and simple behaviors. This has allowed neural circuits to be worked out in great detail. However, it is impractical to breed them. Therefore, they are not good for genetic studies and until now we have known very little about the genes that they express. However, we have now sequenced and fully annotated the genes that are expressed in the brains of six species (Tritonia, Melibe, Dendronotus, Hermissenda, Flabellina, and Pleurobranchaea). This opens up many new areas of research that were closed before because of the lack of information. We can now use molecular tools to up-regulate and down-regulate expression of genes. We can find molecular markers to positively identify homologous neurons.
ur first two transcriptome publications:We have made new discoveries about receptors and neurotransmitter expression in these sea slugs. Look for more publications to come.