DATABASE: The Brain's Genetic Geography

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Science  14 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5648, pp. 1125
DOI: 10.1126/science.302.5648.1125b

Researchers studying how genes mold the mouse's developing brain and keep the organ running throughout life should check out this new gene expression atlas from Rockefeller University in New York City. The site presents synopses for more than 150 genes, indicating where each is switched on in embryos, 7-day-old pups, and adults. As reported in the 30 October issue of Nature, the researchers studied brain cells that carried a chunk of bacterial DNA that spurs production of a marker protein when a particular gene turns on. The atlas features images of brain slices stained to reveal the locations of gene activity. You can zoom in on the photos for a closer look at which neurons are putting a particular gene to work. The dark specks on this section of an adult mouse's cerebellum, for example, mark cells with active laminin, beta-3, whose functions include helping cells stick together.

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