The first data from a repository of living human brain cells

PROFITABLY recycling waste is always a good idea. And the Allen Institute for Brain Science, in Seattle, has found a way to recycle what is perhaps the most valuable waste of all—living human brain tissue. Understandably, few people are willing to donate parts of their brains to science while they are still alive. But, by collaborating with seven local neurosurgeons, the institute’s chief scientist, Christof Koch, and his colleagues, have managed to round up specimens of healthy tissue removed by those surgeons in order to get to unhealthy parts beyond them, which needed surgical ministration. Normally, such tissue would be disposed of as waste. Instead, Dr Koch is making good use of it.

The repository the cells from these samples end up in is a part of a wider project, the Allen Cell Types Database. The first data from the newly collected human brain cells were released on October 25th. The Allen database, which is open for anyone to search, thus now includes information…Continue reading

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