Spinal Cord Map Released
A major part of the map of spinal cords of mice is released by researchers from Allen Institute for Brain Science in Fremont.
Researchers were working several months in creating a map, which is to describe spinal cord of mice. The major part of the two-dimensional map is ready and it includes about 2000 genes. The map shows which gene is involved in spinal cord and clarifies functions for each gene.
The map will help scientists to identify which gene is involved in diseases of central nervous system and easily detect how to effectively treat diseases. Mice and humans have 90% of same genes, so any research conducted on mice can be easily applied to humans as well.
Gregory Cox from Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine says: "It's incredibly important to understand normal (gene firing) patterns in the spinal cord so we know when we're seeing something abnormal. It's sort of like the picture on the puzzle box. If you don't know what the puzzle looks like, it's hard to put it together."
Allen Institute researchers expect to completely finish spinal cord map early next year, and the map will cost about $2.3 million. Researchers also plan a human brain map which will cost about $50 million and will take about 4 years to have the map ready. They have already released mouse brain map in 2006 costing more than $41 million.