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Several scientific projects are trying to map the connectome, such as The Human Connectome Project. The connectomes of other organisms, such as C. elegans, have been mapped already.

Having an organism's connectome, what information can we extract from it? And, most importantly, what information will still be missing?

For example, can we extract the following functional information from the connectome:

  1. Is the synapse connection excitatory or inhibitory?
  2. Which ions does the synaptic connection use?
  3. What is the strength of the synaptic connection?

For simplicity, let's assume that we're using the best imaging and data gathering techniques available (including combinations of techniques).

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Ideally connectome will contain the information 1,2,3. However, depending on the technique (e.g. electron microscopy on slices) it may not get them. I think it would be more clear if you dissociate the technique from the goal of connectomics itself. –  Memming Apr 3 at 6:22
@Memming, let's assume we're using state of the art technique(s) to get the most information we can. –  Victor Lyuboslavsky Apr 3 at 15:26

1 Answer 1

An answer to Question 1 about synapse connections might possibly be found in a New Scientist article earlier this month on brain maps of human foetuses using laser microdissection:

the team has already found that a collection of genes associated with autism is particularly active in the newly developed excitatory neurons in the cortex.

Ed Lein et al "Transcriptional landscape of the prenatal human brain" Nature, DOI:10.1038/nature3185

"Brain map to zoom in on neural blips" New Scientist, 5 April 2014

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