ALLEN Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas
The ALLEN Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas is a foundational resource for detailed exploration of neural communication pathways throughout the mouse brain. Launched in November 2011, the Atlas will help scientists identify the neural circuits governing behavior and other brain functions; examine how such circuits are formed in development; and advance understanding of a variety of disorders and diseases involving the brain.
About the Atlas
From decades of effort, it is now clear that the brain comprises a well-organized and highly complex communication network – in humans it is estimated that the brain holds more than a hundred billion neurons, forming over a hundred trillion connections. These connections and the circuits they create transmit and encode information that forms the foundation of diverse brain functions. Neurological and psychiatric diseases are largely rooted in this complex network about which we know relatively little.
The Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas is designed as a comprehensive, standardized map of neural projections, or communication pathways, in the mouse brain. Mapping projections from a broad range of brain regions and built upon an array of transgenic mice developed to enable exploration of specific cell types, the Atlas comprises a unique and detailed compendium of projections from selected neuronal populations throughout the brain. By adopting genetic tracing approaches to highlight the neural projections, the Atlas also offers a reproducible framework to facilitate efforts in probing neural circuits and investigating various neural disorders.
The neural connectivity information available in the Atlas also complements the Allen Institute's collection of gene expression atlases and thus provides unique opportunities to help understand how genes contribute to the formation and function of neural circuits.
Key FeaturesUpon completion the Atlas is expected to include:
- Open, public online access
- Coverage of projections from ~300 anatomically-defined brain regions
- Anatomic reference data
- Interactive, navigable high-resolution 2-D image data and 3-D models
- Integrated search, visualization and informatics analysis tools
- Detailed characterization of the underlying genetic tools to facilitate follow-on research
- Integration with other Allen Brain Atlas resources