May 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 9)
Strong Points: High-quality images from various species
Weak Points: Number of datasets is sparse for some species
Now here’s a site to wrap your head around! Some curious folks may occasionally peruse photos of the human brain, and many researchers are familiar with images of the mouse brain, but how many people can say that they’ve seen images of a platypus brain? Or the brain of a goldfish? This diversity is definitely one of the major strengths of Brain Maps, offering datasets for fifteen species. The number of datasets varies among species, but included in some of the more expansive arrays (such as for the mouse) are Nissl stains, c-fos stains, and transmission electron micrographs, to name a few. This site will not help researchers interested in the expression patterns of particular genes (unless you’re lucky enough to be interested in a gene for which datasets have been submitted), but it does offer high-quality whole-brain images from various sectional views. It also offers some software downloads, the majority of which are applications used to visualize or analyze the data presented on the site.