Of mice and men…

This is your brain on your brainNeuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) reached an important milestone today, publicly releasing the first installment of data from the 500 terabytes so far collected in their pathbreaking project to construct the first whole-brain wiring diagram of a vertebrate brain, that of the mouse.

The data consist of gigapixel images (each close to 1 billion pixels) of whole-brain sections that can be zoomed to show individual neurons and their processes, providing a “virtual microscope.” The images are integrated with other data sources from the web, and are being made fully accessible to neuroscientists as well as interested members of the general public. The data are being released pre-publication in the spirit of open science initiatives that have become familiar in digital astronomy (e.g., Sloan Digital Sky Survey) but are not yet as widespread in neurobiology.

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