Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, March 14, 2008

New OA brain imaging project

Alan Boyle, New brain map on tap, Cosmic Log, March 13, 2008.

With the backing of a billionaire, researchers today launched a project that builds on their earlier atlas of the mouse brain and goes after a challenge 2,000 times bigger: a 3-D genetic map of the human brain. And that's not all: They're planning to produce a similar map of the mouse spinal cord, as well as another atlas showing how the mouse brain develops from the fetus to adulthood.

The multimillion-dollar effort could help researchers develop new treatments for maladies ranging from spinal cord injury to autism.

Today's triple play marks a new phase for the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science, which was founded in 2003 with $100 million in seed money from software billionaire Paul Allen. The first phase of the Allen Brain Atlas focused on the mouse brain - and looked specifically at which genes were active in which areas of the brain. ...

[Chief scientific officer Allan] Jones emphasized that the data from the three new projects will be freely available over the Web, just as the mouse-brain database is today. Unlike most scientific projects, the Allen Institute doesn't hold back the raw data for its own big publication, but rather puts everything it has into the database as soon as it's available.

"These data sets are so massive that there's no way we can ever be comprehensive about these analyses, and it's better to get the data out there," Jones said. ...

See also past OAN posts on the Allen Brain Atlas.