Reading the book of memory: sparse sampling versus dense mapping of connectomes

Neuron. 2009 Apr 16;62(1):17-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.03.020.


Many theories of neural networks assume rules of connection between pairs of neurons that are based on their cell types or functional properties. It is finally becoming feasible to test such pairwise models of connectivity, due to emerging advances in neuroanatomical techniques. One method will be to measure the functional properties of connected pairs of neurons, sparsely sampling pairs from many specimens. Another method will be to find a "connectome," a dense map of all connections in a single specimen, and infer functional properties of neurons through computational analysis. For the latter method, the most exciting prospect would be to decode the memories that are hypothesized to be stored in connectomes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission