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Successes and Rewards in Sharing Digital Reconstructions of Neuronal Morphology

Authors
  • Ascoli, Giorgio A.1
  • 1 George Mason University, Krasnow Inst. for Advanced Study and Neuroscience Program, Fairfax, VA, USA , Fairfax (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Neuroinformatics
Publisher
Humana Press Inc
Publication Date
Aug 09, 2007
Volume
5
Issue
3
Pages
154–160
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s12021-007-0010-7
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The computer-assisted three-dimensional reconstruction of neuronal morphology is becoming an increasingly popular technique to quantify the arborization patterns of dendrites and axons. The resulting digital files are suitable for comprehensive morphometric analyses as well as for building anatomically realistic compartmental models of membrane biophysics and neuronal electrophysiology. The digital tracings acquired in a lab for a specific purpose can be often re-used by a different research group to address a completely unrelated scientific question, if the original investigators are willing to share the data. Since reconstructing neuronal morphology is a labor-intensive process, data sharing and re-analysis is particularly advantageous for the neuroscience and biomedical communities. Here we present numerous cases of “success stories” in which digital reconstructions of neuronal morphology were shared and re-used, leading to additional, independent discoveries and publications, and thus amplifying the impact of the “source” study for which the data set was first collected. In particular, we overview four main applications of this kind of data: comparative morphometric analyses, statistical estimation of potential synaptic connectivity, morphologically accurate electrophysiological simulations, and computational models of neuronal shape and development.

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