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Scientists create atlas of human brain

The map reveals the activity of genes across the entire brain.

A comprehensive and interactive atlas of the adult human brain that shows the activity of genes across the entire organ has been developed by scientists.

The map reveals the activity of genes across the entire brain to help shed light on neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Researchers at the Allen Institute for Brain Science,Seattle,US,created the atlas as a kind of ready reckoner for to compare and contrast their own findings from brain scans and genetic surveys,to unveil more secrets about psychiatric


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The atlas was reated from the scans of three ‘clinically unremarkable’ brains,donated following the deaths of a 24-year-old and 39-year-old man,and half a brain from a third man,the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

There are more than 20,000 genes in the human genome,with 84 per cent of them being concentrated within the human brain.

To create the atlas,the scientists scanned the brains,before chopping them into small pieces. For each piece,they scanned for and recorded the activity levels of the 20,000 genes.

When the scans of the two complete brains were compared to each other,the team found what they believe is a ‘genetic blueprint’ for how the brain may be mapped out,with so many similarities in gene placement and usage.


Their next aim is to scan a female brain to see how it compares to the other gender.

“The human brain is the most complex structure known to mankind and one of the greatest challenges in modern biology is to understand how it is built and organised. This allows us for the first time to overlay the human genome on to the human brain,” Seth Grant,professor at Edinburgh University,who helped create the map,said.

Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics haves already announced to use the map to help research genes and brain symmetry.

More than 4,000 other researchers have already used the tool.

First published on: 20-09-2012 at 23:41 IST
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