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A study describes the complex brain circuitry that lets us identify, savor (or recoil from) a taste 

…The new study, published Wednesday in Nature, builds on these findings to delve deeper into the brain’s taste circuitry. The researchers genetically engineered mice to produce fluorescent proteins in neurons—green in the sweet cortex, red in the bitter cortex. They then traced the connections emanating from these cells to other regions. They were especially interested in the amygdala, a brain structure involved in processing emotion and assigning positive or negative values, or valence, to sensory input. The specialization in different areas of the cortex was remarkably preserved—sweet cells connected primarily to an area called the anterior basolateral amygdala whereas bitter cells mainly linked to the central amygdala. “This elegant study provides new insight into the architecture of positive and negative valence in taste,” says neuroscientist Kay Tye of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the study. “The segregation of sweet and bitter [connections] across different amygdalar nuclei was stunning.” Original Article »

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