, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 397-410

The informatics of a C57BL/6J mouse brain atlas

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The Mouse Atlas Project (MAP) aims to produce a framework for organizing and analyzing the large volumes of neuroscientific data produced by the proliferation of genetically modified animals. Atlases provide an invaluable aid in understanding the impact of genetic manipulation by providing a standard for comparison. We use a digital atlas as the hub of an informatics network, correlating imaging data, such as structural imaging and histology, with text-based data, such as nomenclature, connections, and references. We generated brain volumes using magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM), classical histology, and immunohistochemistry, and registered them into a common and defined coordinate system. Specially designed viewers were developed in order to visualize multiple datasets simultaneously and to coordinate between textual and image data. Researchers can navigate through the brain interchangeably, in either a text-based or image-based representation that automatically updates information as they move. The atlas also allows the independent entry of other types of data, the facile retrieval of information, and the straight-forward display of images. In conjunction with centralized servers, image and text data can be kept current and can decrease the burden on individual researchers’ computers. A comprehensive framework that encompasses many forms of information in the context of anatomic imaging holds tremendous promise for producing new insights. The atlas and associated tools can be found at http://www.loni.ucla.edu/MAP.