The many connections between different parts of the brain have no street signs or trail markers.
But in order to better explore this complicated organ that enables us to be conscious, thinking, alert beings, scientists need maps. Big maps.
Two studies released Wednesday in the journal Nature showcase brain maps that could have implications for understanding both healthy and impaired brains.
One study reveals the most complete map ever of how parts of the brain are connected in a mouse. The other illuminates the developing human brain in terms of genetic expression — specifically, which genes are responsible for generating different types of neurons, and how brain circuits are formed.