Neuroscience: A genetic handle on brain circuits

Abstract

Cre-recombinase mouse driver lines provide tools for the functional dissection of neuronal circuits. The near future will likely bring an increase in the number of studies reporting detailed analyses of complex brain circuits and their functional involvement in mediating specific behaviors and brain functions. But to perform these types of studies, researchers need to be able to target specific cells of interest within the brain and express activity sensors or modulators in them. Among the existing approaches for genetically targeting neuron populations is the use of Cre-driver mouse lines in which Cre recombinase is expressed under the control of gene-specific promoters. The GENSAT (Gene Expression Nervous System Atlas) project, led by Nathaniel Heintz at Rockefeller University and Charles Gerfen at the US National Institute of Mental Health, has generated over 250 Cre-driver lines using neuroscience

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