Sequencing the Connectome

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Connectivity determines the function of neural circuits. Historically, circuit mapping has usually been viewed as a problem of microscopy, but no current method can achieve high-throughput mapping of entire circuits with single neuron precision. Here we describe a novel approach to determining connectivity. We propose BOINC ("barcoding of individual neuronal connections"), a method for converting the problem of connectivity into a form that can be read out by high-throughput DNA sequencing. The appeal of using sequencing is that its scale--sequencing billions of nucleotides per day is now routine--is a natural match to the complexity of neural circuits. An inexpensive high-throughput technique for establishing circuit connectivity at single neuron resolution could transform neuroscience research.




Zador, A. M., Dubnau, J., Oyibo, H. K., Zhan, H., Cao, G., & Peikon, I. D. (2012). Sequencing the Connectome. PLoS Biology, 10(10).

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