We’re about a year and a half into Mystic, an advanced tier of Eyewire gameplay that allows players to access zebrafish brains and work alongside the Msty AI to claim and trace whole cells. Ashwin Vishwanathan, a postdoctoral researcher at Seung Lab, is the primary researcher leading the analysis that takes place after cells are completed in Eyewire. He’s put together this post to give an scientific update on the progress that Mystic gameplay has made possible!
Getting your eyes to look at what you want to see is easier said than done. For the visual system to do what it does, the first step of the process is to have control over the movement of the eye. The way animals do this is through a group of neurons in the brain stem that oversee eye movement.
We’re looking at cells that are responsible for eye movements. Eye movements can be broken down into saccades and gazes (fixation). Saccades are the initiation of an eye movement that tells the eye to look from point A to point B. But to keep it at point B, you need another set of neurons that tell the eye to maintain position, AKA gaze. We are interested in understanding who are all the neurons that are talking to these gaze neurons. Neurons responsible for saccadic eye movement are one class of cells that talk to gaze neurons but there are others as well. The whole reconstruction process of Mystics is to learn more by uncovering all the different classes. So to study them, we’ve started off by mapping neurons that are responsible for gaze and then moving to their presynaptic axons.
38 Mystic players have so far mapped 1,661 unique zebrafish neurons. Astounding!
The graphic below shows reconstructions of only the dendrites or axons of all the cells that were reconstructed and validated by the admins. For scale is the image of the larval zebrafish, and the box is the area that is being reconstructed ( image courtesy HHMI )
This next graphic shows the connectivity profiles between the reconstructed cells. Each color is a cluster of cells that and the lines show the connectivity between the different clusters.
This graph showcases the connectome of the cells reconstructed so far. Each row and column is a cell, and the color of the dots show the number of synapses between any row and column.
Thanks to the community members who have helped map these cells. You’re contributing to a new connectome!
Shoutout to the Mystics!