What [neuroscientist Tony] Zador showed me was a map of 50,000 neurons in the cerebral cortex of a mouse. It indicated where the cell bodies of every neuron sat and where they sent their long axon branches. A neural map of this size and detail has never been made before. Forgoing the traditional method of brain mapping that involves marking neurons with fluorescence, Zador had taken an unusual approach that drew on the long tradition of molecular biology research at Cold Spring Harbor, on Long Island. He used bits of genomic information to imbue a unique RNA sequence or “bar code” into each individual neuron.
The result: a 3-D rendering of 50,000 neurons in the mouse cortex (with as many more to be added soon) mapped with single cell resolution.
This work, Zador’s magnum opus, is still being refined for publication. But in a paper recently published by Nature, he and his colleagues showed that the technique, called MAPseq (Multiplexed Analysis of Projections by Sequencing), can be used to find new cell types and projection patterns.
[T]he technique should be able to scale up to handle 100,000 neurons within a week or two for only $10,000 — far faster than traditional mapping would be, at a fraction of the cost. Such advantages will make it more feasible to map and compare the neural pathways of large numbers of brains.
Read full, original post: New Brain Maps With Unmatched Detail May Change Neuroscience