Neuroscience’s New Toolbox

Stephen S. Hall, Brightspace Blog, Jun 18, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Optogenetics is a really cool way of studying neural networks. Inset a light-sensitive gene into selected neurons, then turn on a fibre-opting light, activating the neutron, and watch what happens. The current study is about aggression, but I like what the researcher says about diversity: "“There’s no such thing as a generic neuron,” says Anderson, who estimates that there may be up to 10,000 distinct classes of neurons in the brain. Even tiny regions of the brain contain a mixture, he says, and these neurons 'often influence behavior in different, opposing directions.'"

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