US scientists present the most detailed map of brain connections

Scientists from the United States presented the most detailed map of the connections of the brain – including its distant areas. This method is cheaper and faster than analogues.

A new method developed at Cold Spring Harbor Lab in the USA (CSHL) uses DNA sequencing to map the connections between different regions of the brain. This approach reduces the cost of mapping relationships between distant regions of the brain compared to traditional microscopy techniques.

Researchers have explained that neuroscientists need anatomical maps to understand how information from one part of the brain enters and affects other parts of the organ. Such data make it possible to understand how the nervous system processes information, and in which cases system disorders can lead to mental illness or other disorders. However, before the creation of such maps was an expensive and time-consuming process, therefore they were not available to most research groups.

Scientists have come up with a new method of cartrusion – sequenced fixation of organ connections. They did not mark individual regions of the brain and their projections using colors; instead, they labeled them using nucleotide sequences. So they were able to get short “barcodes”, which create an infinite number of connections, allowing to distinguish one cell from another. After labeling, the researchers used the DNA sequence to analyze tiny segments of the brain tissue, interpreting each repeated “barcode” as a signal of a cell connection.

Researchers have already reported that their method maps the relationship between different areas of the mouse brain in great detail. However, in the future, it will be adapted to other organisms, including humans.