Visit the Allen Institute of Brain Science's official site to download the 3D brain map app (Photo : The Allen Instituate of Brain Science)
The Allen Institute of Brain Science in Seattle has crafted a brain map from analysis of two-and-a-half donated samples of the organ, deemed a "Rosetta stone" for scientists searching to understand genetic and psychological defects.
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The study, published in the scientific journal Nature, looked at the brains of a 39-year-old man and a 24-year old-man, supplemented by half of a brain from another male. The Guardian notes that scientists "measured activity levels for all of the 20,000 or so genes in the human genome [for each lump in the brain.]" Experts found that 84% of all genes are activated in different parts of the brain, and that there was no discernible contrast between gene activities on the left side of the brain to the right half.
Seth Grant, contributor to the study and professor of neuroscience at Edinburgh University, explains the use of the Institute's 3D image of the brain:
"This [map] allows us for the first time to overlay the human genome on the human brain. It gives us essentially the Rosetta stone for understanding the link between the genome and the brain, and gives us a path forward to decoding how genetic disorders impact and produce brain disease."
One limitation of the study was the reliance on all male brains. Scientists are now researching the blueprint of female brains to search for patterns in the human brain that are shared by both sexes, reports the Guardian. While these breakthroughs are fascinating, we still have a long road to walk before completely understanding the human mind.
"The human brain is the most complex structure known to mankind and one of the greatest challenges in modern biology is to understand how it is built and organized," concludes Grant.