From the intrinsic properties to the functional role of a neuron phenotype: an example from electric fish during signal trade-off.
Characterizing the functional phenotypes of neurons is essential for understanding how genotypes can be related to the neural basis of behaviour. Traditional classifications of neurons by single features (such as morphology or firing behaviour) are increasingly inadequate for reflecting functional phenotypes, as they do not integrate functions across different neuronal types. Here, we describe a set of rules for identifying and predicting functional phenotypes that combine morphology, intrinsic ion channel species and their distributions in dendrites, and functional properties. This more comprehensive neuronal classification should be an improvement on traditional classifications for relating genotype to functional phenotype.