About 85 billion neurons of the human brain cells and connections between them is as much as 15 trillion. How they connect with each other?
Recently the journal Neuron published a new technology named MAP-seq, to take advantage of RNA “bar code” high speed, low price accurately draw the connections between brain cells. The invention is expected to achieve major breakthroughs in advanced neural network.
MAP-seq inventor of the technique, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) neuroscientist andongni·zhade (AnthonyZador) told the newspaper: “we had mastered a new technology Foundation, based on the application of this technology of the future abound. ”
Zha told reporters that their ultimate goal is, with very little genetic material to label each nerve cell in the brain, and then draw the map for how groups of neurons connect to each other. This study would be unprecedented and meticulous degree helped researchers study on autism and schizophrenia and other diseases.
Researcher, Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Shanghai institutes for biological neural Chou Zilong years engaged in research on autism. He told the newspaper reporters: “the technology of basic neuroscience research with many, autism research will be useful in the future. ”
As a revolutionary technology, MAP-seq the first step is to create a virus as a carrier of random RNA sequence and the mixture of RNA sequences into the brain, injected about each share is based on the injection site an RNA sequence shall prevail. In this way, each will have their own unique set of RNA “bar code”.
Next, brain nerve cells were mark will be further sliced, diced, sequential lined up, waiting to be processed. Opportunities for DNA sequencing reads the RNA “bar code”, researchers will be able to set up shows how individual neurons and other parts of the brain connected to a matrix diagram.
“It’s certainly not injected into the human brain, the human brain can’t inject. “Chou Zilong, told reporters. This study, published in the journal Neuron described in 1000 mouse brain regions part of the brain called the locus coeruleus of neural connections in order to prove the feasibility of MAP-seq technology. Zha said: “before we experiment part of resolving the disputes related to nerve cell connections. ”
People process hundreds of gene mutations in brain development is how subtle changes in neural network connections? How brain dysfunction? Scientists were tested in the mouse brain. Autism candidate gene in mice carrying different brain circuits may vary, by comparing these brain circuits, researchers hope to brain connections and neural diseases have a new understanding.
This was the first time in human history to mark the brain “barcode” scientific experiments. Previously, has a number of map of the human brain project is under study. But most past do brain connections mapping efforts rely on fluorescent proteins and microscopes to imaging the neural cells, known as “batch tag” approach. However, this is difficult to track more than one nerve cell connections.
Tied to the airport make a metaphor, he said: “the bulk tag just as you’re going to Germany, came to the airport’s international departure counter, there are lots of airlines, not every airline has sold Germany flight ticket, and RNA barcode tags can help you find all the Germany airline flights. This method is more accurate. It makes you want to go to destinations and airlines sell the destination stack, thus narrowing the search range. ”
With the decreasing cost of gene sequencing, the new technology will also become more affordable, efficient and viable. Bar-another Member of the team, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, graduate student jiasitusi·kaibushuer (JustusKebschull), said: “now we can also draw 100,000 neurons a connection diagram, and to carry out an experiment in a week. It was unthinkable in the past. ”
Zha told the newspaper said: “maybe soon we will be able to provide for the exploration of the human brain nerve cell connections in the first complete maps. “The technology in addition to contributing to some neurological diseases research, future artificial intelligence and neural network architecture will also provide great depth guide.
Mysteries of the human brain to explore is endless. Last month, the journal nature published the most detailed map of the human brain, brain partitioning; last week also approved a new imaging technology to scan the human brain reveal how genes activate the human brain. Scientists from Harvard Medical School first used brain scans revealed the gene changes in brain activity, this finding may help Alzheimer’s syndrome, schizophrenia and other brain disorders that lead to disease treatments.
Next tie is different animal brain mapping using MAP-seq technology, to build models of the various developmental and neurological and psychiatric disorders, and genetic mutations for changing how close is the relationship between brain structure and infer how genetic mutations on the brain dysfunction.