Mittwoch, 4. August 2010

Paper on the honeybee brain atlas with 3D figures

Colleagues of mine published a paper on the three-dimensional atlas of the honeybee brain. This atlas is a collection of three-dimensional morphological data from honeybee neurons.

The honeybee brain atlas was first published in 2005 in the form of a conventional paper. It is extremely useful for research in a number of ways:
  • For physiological recordings, the atlas helps you identify the neurons that you record from.
  • The atlas gives you a common frame of reference to compare morphological studies from different animals, experimenters or even different labs.
  • It allows to put different neurons from different specimens in spatial relation, which is a prerequisite for reconstructing neuronal circuits in the honeybee brain.
The caveat is that in order to use the atlas, one needs the whole software stack on which it was developed. Only those who have seen it in action can really grasp its significance. In consequence, the atlas was always a bit of an insider's tip within the honeybee brain community.

In their recent publication, Jürgen Rybak and coworkers made full use of the capabilities of the PDF format and published three-dimensional figures. The reader can interact with the atlas and rotate the brain for better overview, hide and show parts of the brain or even specific neurons. Now everyone can examine the bee brain in a way that was before only accessible to a small group of scientists. And since the paper is open access, you don't even have to pay for it.

Thanks a lot for that great piece of science!