Marina Garrett

Scientists to ‘paint’ atlas of mammalian brain with rabies virus

Imagine trying to repair a car without knowing what the parts of an engine are, let alone what they do. Now, Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative scientists begin a similar undertaking—to build an atlas of the mammalian brain, The Scientist reports. To create this catalog of brain cell types, researchers will use modified rabies virus and fluorescent proteins to mark, identify, and characterize cell types from more than 100 brain regions across the mouse brain. With an inventory of parts, the investigators hope to associate cell types with anatomical features common to all mammalian brains including humans’, which could help researchers determine which parts need a tune-up in mental illness and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

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