Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Brain that Squeaked

From today's New York TImes:

Atlas Squeaked: A Complete Map of the Brain of a Mouse
By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: September 26, 2006
The New York Times

Scientists have gained a new window for peering into the brain, courtesy of a $41 million project financed by Paul G. Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft.

The project is an electronic atlas that shows which genes are switched on in neurons throughout the brain of a mouse.

Instead of looking at one gene at a time in one or a few neurons, researchers can now study all the brain genes systematically. And instead of having to visualize each gene experimentally, everything is available online. “I am using it all the time,” said Catherine Dulac, who studies mouse behavior at Harvard. “It’s an extraordinary resource.”

Marc Tessier-Lavigne, an expert on neuronal signaling and vice president for research at Genentech, said he would put the new brain atlas “on a par with the human genome project.” Both are members of the scientific advisory board overseeing the project.

Thomas M. Jessel, a neuroscientist at Columbia University, said after looking at the atlas that it was of high quality and would complement other available brain maps.

“It is likely to be the standard source for the next few years” for people interested in the pattern of gene activation in the brain,” Professor Jessel said.

[ ... Read the full article ... ]

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Anthony H. Risser | |

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