[NetBehaviour] Billionaire spends millions mapping mouse brains.

marc.garrett at furtherfield.org marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Sep 27 12:49:25 CEST 2006

Billionaire spends millions mapping mouse brains.

By Maggie Fox, 
Health and Science Correspondent.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - So you're a billionaire and you've bought a couple
of sports teams, launched an amateur space project and spent $800 million
on good causes -- what do you do with the change?

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen decided to make a genetic atlas of
the mouse brain.

The atlas, begun in 2002 with $100 million from Allen's fortune, was
declared finished on Tuesday, with fine-tuned information on 3,000 active
genes -- although scientists have been using it regularly for more than a

Allen said working with computers all his life made him appreciate the
complexities of the brain. "You realize that computers take a very
simplistic approach to computing things," Allen told Reuters in an

These include
Alzheimer's disease, which affects 4.5 million Americans, autism, which may
occur in one in every 175 births, epilepsy, which affects 2.7 million
Americans, schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease.

In four years, scientists working for the Atlas project have mapped more
than 21,000 genes. They then checked each gene to see which ones are turned
on -- expressed -- in brain tissue.


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