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Google releases the most comprehensive 3D map to show brain connections so far



Researchers at the Janelia Research Campus in Google and Virginia have published the most comprehensive, high-resolution map of brain connections in any animal. The 3D modeling shared by the team shows how 20 million synapses in the brain connect 25,000 neurons.

A turning point in the field of konnektom research, the model used detailed visualization techniques to map the physical pathways created by the brain. Meanwhile, the map is also known as connectome, a diagram that shows all the neurons and nerve pathways contained in the brain. The map shows only a third of the fruit fly’s brain. Until now, only one organism, round worms, have been able to map the brain entirely in this way.

Let’s note that Connectomics is a controversial method in the scientific world. Some argue that this technique helps associate physical parts of the brain with specific behaviors. As a matter of fact, this is one of the main goals of neuroscience. But critics of the technique say: “I’m not going to let you this technique has not yet produced major breakthroughs, and this rigorous study on mapping neurons consumes resources that can be better used in other areas.

Neuroscientist Mark Humphries, of the University of Nottingham, said the restructuring was technically great, while other scientists came forward as a source. Humphries stated that this technique will not answer urgent lyin in the first place, but can still uncover some interesting mysteries in the field of neuroscience.



We can say that the 3D map created by Google and the FlyEM team in Janelia is a technical achievement created by automation methods and human craftsmanship. To create the map, it is necessary to disassemble parts of the fruit fly brain only 20 microns thick, about a third of human hair, these brain slices then flow the electron from the scan electron microscope is displayed. The data obtained contain approximately 50 trillion 3D pixels or voxosos processed using an algorithm that tracks the paths of each cell.

Fruit flies, meanwhile, are widely used in connectomics because they exhibit complex behaviors such as courtship dances, even though they have poppy seeds and relatively simple brains.

Despite Google’s algorithmic power, the software needs serious manpower to examine the work it has uncovered. Google said in a statement that it took scientists in Janelia two years and hundreds of thousands of hours to check the emerging 3D map.  Scientists used VR titles and customized 3D editing software to verify the route of each of the 20 million chemical synapses in the process.

Nevertheless, the resulting map covered only a part of the fruit fly’s brain known as hemibrain. At this point, a fruit fly has a total of 100,000 neurons in its brain. Given that a human brain contains about 86 billion neurons, we’re seeing how far we’re from creating a connection map of our own neural pathways.



Categories:   Technology

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