DATABASE: Genes on the Brain

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Science  24 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5705, pp. 2167
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5705.2167d

Researchers are just beginning to decipher how differences in gene activity allow different parts of the brain to recall memories, sense pain, move limbs, and carry out other jobs. A new atlas aims to provide a picture of gene expression throughout the brain for the most common lab mouse strain. The ambitious project—aimed at neuroscientists, drug designers, behavioral geneticists, and other experts—is one of the first fruits of the Seattle, Washington-based Allen Institute for Brain Science, launched last year with seed money from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (Science, 19 September 2003, p. 1642). This month's initial data release consists of brain slices stained to indicate activity levels of 2000 genes. Users can voyage through the brain slice by slice, zooming in on particular cells and superimposing slices from different structures to compare expression patterns. The institute plans to post results for the remaining 18,000 or so mouse genes by the end of 2006.

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