Allen Institute creates 3-D guide to the brain

Brain map
This image shows a cross-section from the “average” brain that serves as the basis for the Allen Institute’s 3-D mouse cortex map. A single neuron has been mapped onto the cortex in purple at upper left. (Credit: Allen Institute for Brain Science

After years of painstaking work, Seattle’s Allen Institute for Brain Science has completed a digital 3-D map of the mouse cortex, filled out with annotations that trace the brain’s neurons, genetic correlations and the connections between different functional regions.

The project provides a standardized coordinate system that should help neuroscientists place data points like pins dropped on an online map, but in three dimensions.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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