Groundbreaking Data Set on How Mammalian Brains Are Wired

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BrainThe publication of the first comprehensive, large-scale data set on the way mammalian brains are wired has proven to be some of the most exciting science in the news to date. This publication provides a data resource that gives new insight into how the nervous system in mammals processes information.

Researchers from the Allen Institute for Brain Science published their landmark paper in the scientific journal Nature this week, describing the Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas which is available to the public. Senior Director of Research Science at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Hongkui Zeng, explains in a science article in Science Daily news that understanding the wiring of the mammalian brain is one of the most significant steps toward understanding how it encodes information. He further comments that the atlas is quantitative, standardized and comprehensive, providing knowledge that will lead to exciting investigations throughout the entire neuroscience community.

Scientists at the Allen Institute have already used the data to demonstrate the existence of highly specific patterns in connections among various brain regions. In addition, they showed that the strength of these connections vary with a large number of weak connections. The human brain is one of the most complex structures in the universe. It consists of approximately 100 billion neurons. In comparison, the mouse brain consists of 75 million neurons with a similar structure to that of humans, which has provided a powerful model for researchers to learn how the brain of humans connects, processes and encodes information.

The results obtained by the Allen Institute, a project also known as “Connectome,” provides a much more comprehensive set of data than of any systems that have been completed before. With the availability of the Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas, researchers will now be able to create a 3D common reference space for a highly quantitative evaluation.

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