Scientists create first digital atlas of brain

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have created the world’s first genome-wide digital atlas of gene enhancers in the brain, the switches that tell genes when and where they need to be switched on or off. This atlas completely documents the cerebrum, the region of the brain that is vital for cognition, motor functions and emotion identifies and locates thousands of gene-regulating elements which are the underlying causes of neurological disorders.

What are Gene Enhancers?

Gene Enhancers are short pieces of DNA in the human genome. They are not actual genes, so they do not give rise to proteins. They are switches that tell the actual genes when to become switch on and produce a protein. Each cell type in our body has different sets of these enhancers switched on or off, and collectively they help to organize the activities of our 20,000 genes in each single cell.

How will it help?

It will assist scientists to further their understanding how individual genes are regulated during development of the brain and how genetic mutations may impact human neurological disorders.



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