First "Multiome" Atlas Reveals Human Brain Cell Development across Lifespan

  • 16 Oct 2023

Recently, researchers have unveiled the first "multiome" atlas of brain cell development, offering insights into the roles these cells play during brain development and disease.

Key Points

  • "Multiome" Technology: The research utilizes "multiome" technology, which concurrently examines various types of genetic data within the same biological sample, including the genome, transcriptome, and epigenome.
  • Categorizing Cell Types: The study involves analyzing and describing two kinds of information from each cell: gene expression (transcriptome) and DNA structure (epigenome), enabling the categorization of cell types at different developmental stages.
  • Chromatin Changes: Specific changes in chromatin structure preceding gene expression were identified, which are vital for processes like neuron formation.
  • Regulatory Regions: The research identified chromatin regions linked to the regulation of genes crucial for human brain development.
  • Developmental Spectrum: The study covers brain development from embryogenesis into adulthood, considering the variable onset of neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Data Accessibility: The comprehensive atlas is available to other researchers through an online repository, facilitating data engagement and visualization.
  • Part of NIH's BRAIN Initiative: This research is part of the National Institutes of Health's BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN), which aims to create an atlas of the human and non-human primate brain at the cell-type level.
  • Associations Discovered: Associations between diseases and specific cell types, such as Tourette syndrome linked to oligodendrocytes and obsessive-compulsive disorder linked to astrocytes, were revealed.