These are all connections in a small brain of a mouse brain.


Previous wiring diagrams have mapped “connections” for the following, as is known from the pictures. fruit fly and the human brain. One reason MICrONS has been so well received is that the dataset has the potential to improve scientists’ understanding of the brain and possibly help them treat brain disorders.

Venkatesh Murthy A professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University who studies neural activity in mice but was not involved in the study, the project gave him and other scientists a “bird’s eye view” of how single neurons interact, with an extremely high-resolution “freeze-frame” image that they could zoom in.

R. Clay ReidA senior researcher at the Allen Institute and another lead scientist for the MICrONS project, says he would consider this level of restructuring impossible before the program’s research is complete.

Reid says machine learning has made the process of transforming the brain’s two-dimensional wiring diagrams into three-dimensional models exponentially better. “It’s a funny combination of a very old field and a new approach to it,” he says.

Reid compared the new images with the first maps of the human genome because they provide essential information for others to use. She imagines structures and relationships in the brain that were previously invisible, helping others see them.

“I see this as a start in many ways,” Reid says. “This data and these AI-powered reconstructions can be used by anyone with an internet connection and a computer to ask an extraordinary array of questions about the brain.”


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