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Information theory rules out the reflex-chain model of C. elegans locomotion

Webb J, Kato S




Despite decades of research, whether the C. elegans traveling-wave sinusoidal body pattern during locomotion is produced (a) by the undulations of the head followed by wave propagation down the body, or (b) via centrally coordinated posture control along the body, is still under debate. By studying relationships between the time series of postural angles along the body extracted from videos of moving worms, we find that the reflex-chain model can be refuted, in both forward and backward locomotion as well as during swimming and crawling behaviors. We show that information theory applied to animal behavior can yield insights into the neural control of behavior.

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