Why do we study neurons?
The EyeWire Wiki provides background information on the research behind the game and the science of connectomics.
The EyeWire Wiki is your go-to source for understanding retinal connectomics.
Neuroscience 101, from the wiki:
The brain contains an estimated 100 billion neurons. A typical neuron has three main parts: soma, axon, and dendrites. The soma is also called the “cell body,” and contains the nucleus and DNA. Each neuron has one long axon and many shorter, branched dendrites. Information in the form of electrical signals travels from the dendrites to the soma to the axon. These electrical signals are short pulses called action potentials, or “spikes” for short.
When the axon of one neuron comes into contact with a dendrite of another, the two can communicate through a special junction called a synapse (colored yellow in the left image). The axon sends information to other neurons’ receiving dendrites by releasing molecules known as neurotransmitters. There are dozens of known neurotransmitters, each of which serves to either inhibit or excite the activity of the receiving neuron. A typical neuron is connected to thousands of other neurons.
Imagine the complexity of the connectivity of the 100 billion neurons in your brain! Researchers estimate that it would take tens of thousands of years at the current rate of progress to map an entire human connectome, resulting in the complete neural connectivity of a brain. That’s one reason we created EyeWire, a citizen science game that invites you to map the 3D structure of neurons. By playing EyeWire, you become a part of the Seung Lab at MIT and help researchers understand how the connectivity of neurons leads to complex physiological functions like vision and motion perception.
Learn more on the EyeWire Wiki.
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