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Scientists Paint Multicolor Atlas of the Brain

By Columbia News

January 11, 2021

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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."

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