Scientists discover mysterious human brain cell

Rosehip neuron
This is a digital reconstruction of a rosehip neuron from a human brain. (Tamás Lab, University of Szeged)

A gene-by-gene, neuron-by-neuron search has turned up a new breed of brain cell that may serve as a fine-scale “volume control” for neural activity in humans.

The novel type of brain cell, known as a rosehip neuron, is described in a study published today by Nature Neuroscience.

“It’s very rare, and you only see it, so far, in a human,” study co-author Ed Lein, an investigator at the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science, told GeekWire.

Lein’s group at the Allen Institute and a Hungarian research team at the University of Szeged, headed by Gábor Tamás, narrowed in on the neurons using two different lines of inquiry.

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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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