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Scientists Paint Multicolor Atlas of the Brain

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A NeuroPAL worm coiled into an O-shape with the head and tail touching each other at the top of the ring. Every neuron (the colored dots) can be identified by its color.

Columbia University scientists have engineered a coloring technique that makes it possible to identify every single neuron in the mind of a worm.

Credit: Eviatar Yemini

A novel technique developed by Columbia University researchers helped to map neural network dynamics in the C. elegans worm.

The Neuronal Polychromatic Atlas of Landmarks (NeuroPAL) technique "paints" neurons with fluorescent hues, via genetic methods, identifying each neuron while recording the entire nervous system in action.

The Columbia scientists developed two software programs: one identifies all the neurons in NeuroPAL worm images, and the other designs optimal coloring for potential methods of identification of any cell type or tissue in any animal that allows genetic manipulation.

Columbia's Eviatar Yemini said, "Being able to identify neurons, or other types of cells, using color can help scientists visually understand the role of each part of a biological system. That means when something goes wrong with the system, it may help pinpoint where the breakdown occurred."

From Columbia News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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