One would imagine that as people come in all shapes and sizes, they’d be equally distinct on the inside as well and while such organs as the heart and lungs may vary on size and strength etc, the brain would vary on countless more levels. Everyone maybe born equal as they say, but intelligence tends to be quite another thing altogether with variances being more extreme and the range of experiences and learning that one may accrue, equally affecting how the brain develops. Indeed the variety of personalities alone should make one brain seem quite different from another, but according to a new research that created a full 3D map of the brain, this primary organ in the human body is not as distinct as people may think.
The research conducted by the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle and Edinburgh University has mapped the brain in 3D, showing a "gene map" where the different genetic traits that each individual may have are "expressed" in the brain. The research, which took into account some 100 million gene expressions, mapped these in a 3D model and it was discovered that from brain to brain, despite individual personalities, the resemblances were “strikingly similar.”
The researchers, who published their research in the journal, Nature, sought to construct a map to see just how and where genes are expressed in the brain. Although the human genome had been sequenced for a while, this is the first time they have been put together in such a way. Prof. Seth Grant of Edinburgh University, commented, saying that the study was "essential to understand how it makes all of the genes and where they are expressed in the human brain," while Prof. Ed Lein, of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, said that the gene map could, in the future, provide essential understanding on "brain function, development, evolution and disease."
The researchers were able to compile this 3D map by first doing so on the brains of mice as the human brain in itself is alarmingly complex with around 100 billion neurons or brain cells. Prof. Grant explains, "In the earlier studies, individual genes were studied in the mouse brain, and each one was mapped one at a time to find where in the brain they are expressed. But now we took each little piece of brain tissue and measured all genes all at once using array technology."