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Nov 15, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 20)

Mouse Connectome Project

  • Great image visualization tool, nicely organized
  • Nothing major

It remains one of the (many) great mysteries of neuroscience: how are different brain regions connected to one another? While individual studies have attempted to address this within particular contexts, the Mouse Connectome Project (MCP) at the University of California, Los Angeles has taken on the daunting task of systematically creating a 3D connectome for the mouse brain. The project’s website is already a treasure trove of beautiful images, even though the MCP is only just getting started. Visitors to the site will especially have fun exploring the images with iConnectome, the interactive visualization tool that allows the user to toggle the transparency of individual channels and also provides an option to overlay the images onto a mouse brain atlas for identification of individual brain areas. Overall, the site is beautifully designed and simple to navigate—it’s easy to lose oneself in the data!

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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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