In DepthNeuroscience

Efforts to control monkey brains get a boost

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Science  30 Oct 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6516, pp. 516-517
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6516.516

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Summary

Optogenetics, which uses light to activate or silence precise groups of neurons and probe their role in brain function, has proved to be a powerful approach to studying rodent brains. But it has been tricky to adapt to monkeys. The tools for rendering cells light sensitive were largely refined in rodents and behave unpredictably in new species. And it's hard to illuminate enough tissue in large primate brains to reliably change animals' behavior. The Nonhuman Primate Optogenetics Open Database aims to push the field forward by pooling the technical details of successful and failed experiments—many of them previously unpublished. And if it can be sustained, it may soon include tests in monkeys of promising new optogenetic tools.

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