Also see: (from which this review is largely taken).

Powerful new tool for studying brain development

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Mouse brain slices. Leucine rich repeat protein 3, neuronal. Age E15

Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have given investigators around the world free access to a powerful tool for studying brain development. The internet-based tool, called the mouse Brain Gene Expression Map (BGEM), is one of the largest gene expression maps of an organ ever developed.

The BGEM is a growing, encyclopaedic collection of tens of thousands of images as seen through a microscope. The images are obtained at distinct time points and show where and when specific genes are expressed at each of four developmental stages. Gene expression is visible because special tags called probes bind to messenger RNA (mRNA)–the decoded form of the gene–and release a signal that can be seen using a special microscope. Gene expression refers to the production of mRNA, which becomes the blueprint the cell uses to make the protein coded for by that gene.

The BGEM links these images with the most up-to-date information on those genes, such as their function, location on chromosomes and exact DNA sequence.

    Check these pages out for more information — plus some possible applications and benefits of the BGEM. I like looking at slices of brain, so thought I’d blog this even though I doubt I’ll ever have need of it…

Thanks OliviaB for directing me to this 🙂