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March 01, 2005

Brain's Wiring Diagram

ďAn article published in this week's issue of PLoS Biology (March 1, 2005) describes Chklovskii's discovery of strongly preferred patterns of connectivity or scaffolds within the wiring diagram of the rat brain. The patterns are likely to correspond to modules that play an important role in brain function not only in rats, but also in humans.Ē

I looked online and I donít believe this article will be generally available until March 15.

Essentially they establish that in a rat visual cortex 17% of synaptic junctions account for almost half the connectivity strength. That means a subset of the connections are heavily preferred signaling pathways. Such preferred pathways could be low-level brain modules.

They are only showing evidence that preferred connections exist. They arenít saying what causes them or what function such pathways serve.

Update from Razib: Here is the article. Make sure to check "New Research Articles," many of the best stuff is leaked early and nested within this page. To me, it seems that the modular vs. non-modular debate is going to end up like the Nature vs. Nurture dichotomy, rather than typologically excluded opposites, much of the discussion will (unfortunately) revolve around semantic clarification and emphasis of exposition rather than substance because it seems unlikely that there is an idealized "pure" modularity or non-modularity manifesting itself in mammalian brains.

Posted by fly at 12:49 PM

Posted by: Jimmy at July 20, 2008 03:31 PM