Mapping the brain

Ted posted a relatively new talk today about a project to create a detailed map of the brain.  To quote the Ted website, In this visually stunning talk, Allan Jones shows how his team is mapping which genes are turned on in each tiny region, and how it all connects up.  While the applications he mentions are medical, not musical, I wonder about music cognition when he states that …we all have different genetic backgrounds; we all have lived separate lives, but the fact is our genomes are greater than 99% similar, we’re very, very similar at the genetic level, and what we’re finding is actually even at the brain biochemical level, we are quite similar…it’s not 99%, but it’s roughly 90% correspondence at a reasonable cutoff…We find some outliers…and those genes are interesting, but they’re very subtle.  Does musical aptitude reside in the subtle outliers?  We still have much to learn about the role of genetics in absolute pitch, congenital amusia,  and other aspects of music cognition.

The Allen Brain Atlas is online here.

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