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Allen Institute for Brain Science Releases New Data and Feature Enhancements to Portal and Three Atlas Resources

Expanding datasets and online resources prove invaluable to global research community

March 8, 2012 | Download PDF

The Allen Institute for Brain Science announced today its latest public data release, enhancing online resources and integrating features. This marks the 23rd release of scientific data from the Allen Institute since its first public release in 2004. Each month, resources from the Allen Brain Atlas data portal receive approximately 50,000 visits from researchers worldwide.

With this release, the Allen Institute added data and feature enhancements to three atlas resources in addition to adding features to the Allen Brain Atlas data portal landing page. The portal now features a Data Highlights section: a library of images and descriptions pointing to data entries of particular interest. Additionally, the Allen Institute continues its commitment to provide training to optimize use of its resources and has added three tutorial videos to its Tutorial Library.

The Allen Human Brain Atlas, a multi-modal, three-dimensional map of the human brain that integrates anatomical and gene expression data throughout the adult human brain, now contains complete data from three human brains. In addition to complete data from three brains, the Atlas now also contains enhanced features to facilitate navigation and data export. The Allen Human Brain Atlas is the first comprehensive genome-wide map of the human brain, adding the element of "where" to the "what" of genes expressed in the brain and thereby providing a unique resource for understanding genes at work in the brain.

The Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas, the newest addition to the suite of Allen Brain Atlas resources, is a three-dimensional, high-resolution map of neural connections throughout the mouse brain. This foundational map will help scientists understand how the brain is wired, offering new insights into how the brain works and what goes awry in brain diseases and disorders. With the first release of data in November, 2011 the Atlas offered an initial set of high-resolution images detailing axonal projections and anatomic reference data. The data release announced today expands the amount of data available in three datasets as well as greatly enhancing the related search and viewing features. Additionally, the Atlas now offers a novel way to visualize data, offering full 16-bit access to images via intensity windowing. This feature was uniquely developed to see details in data that would otherwise be unavailable through a Web browser.

The BrainSpan Atlas of the Developing Human Brain, created by a research consortium and made publicly available online via the Allen Brain Atlas data portal, provides broad and detailed anatomic analysis of gene expression across human brain development. The reference atlas associated with this project has been improved with the current release to provide a deeper level of anatomical detail.

About the Atlases

The Allen Institute for Brain Science provides a variety of online public resources integrating extensive gene expression data and neuroanatomy, complete with powerful search and viewing tools – all openly accessible via the Allen Brain Atlas data portal. The Allen Brain Atlas resources provide a unique source of systematic, comprehensive data to accelerate our understanding of the brain and related disorders and diseases. Regular updates and data releases put an increasing amount of valuable data and powerful search and viewing tools in the hands of scientists and research organizations everywhere. The Allen Institute's next public data release is scheduled for June 2012.

The BrainSpan Atlas of the Developing Human Brain is supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health to the Allen Institute for Brain Science (award number RC2MH089921), the University of Southern California (award number RC2MH090047), and Yale University (award number RC2MH089929), totaling $16.2M, $8.9M and $9.9M, respectively. This project is funded with 100% federal funds. No non-government funds support the project. The content is solely the responsibility of the respective authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health or the National Institutes of Health.

About the Allen Institute for Brain Science

The Allen Institute for Brain Science (www.alleninstitute.org) is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit medical research organization dedicated to accelerating understanding of the human brain by fueling discovery for the broader scientific community. Through a product-focused approach, the Allen Institute generates innovative public resources used by researchers and organizations around the globe. Additionally, the Institute drives technological and analytical advances, thereby creating new knowledge and providing new ways to address questions about the brain in health and disease. Started with $100 million in seed money from philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the Institute is supported by a diversity of public and private funds. The Allen Institute's data and tools are publicly available online at www.brain-map.org.

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