Allen Institute boosts its brain cell database

Mouse brain
The Allen Brain Explorer can display a virtual mouse brain in 3-D. (Allen Institute for Brain Science)

The Allen Institute for Brain Science has added about 900 virtual mouse brain cells to its Allen Cell Types Database, bringing the total to slightly more than 1,900 cells available for study.

But wait: There’s more.

Today’s release also includes a new, browser-based beta version of a 3-D viewer called the Allen Brain Explorer, which lets users explore the anatomy and connectivity maps for the mouse brain. The Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas has been freshened up with more information. More details about RNA transcription in mouse, human and macaque brain cells have been added as well.

The upgrades are all part of the open-science mission for the Allen Institute, which Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen created in 2003 and has supported to the tune of half a billion dollars.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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