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Optogenetics

Optogenetics is a biological technique that involves the use of light to control neurons that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels. As such, optogenetics is a neuromodulation method that uses a combination of techniques from optics and genetics to control the activities of individual neurons in living tissue—even within freely-moving animals. In some usages, optogenetics also refers to optical monitoring of neuronal activity although these research activities preceded the use of light-sensitive ion channels in neurons. As optogenetics is used by some authors to refer to only optical control of the activity of genetically defined neurons and not these additional research approaches, the term optogenetics is an example of polysemy.

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