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Book follows stages of mouse brain development

Friday, December 19, 2008JOHNSON CITY – The mapping of the human genome has led to a boom of new research studies looking at the function of specific genes or altered genes, their potential link to disease states, and how they interact with brain function and development.

A faculty member at East Tennessee State University’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine has authored a new book – viewed as the only comprehensive text available for studies of prenatal mouse brain development – that is being used as a major reference source for studies in normal and abnormal brain development, gene manipulation, molecular biology, neurotoxicology, and developmental neuroscience.

“The mouse brain is an ideal model for research because scientists can manipulate the DNA by knocking out, adding, or altering genes,” said author Dr. Uta Schambra, ETSU associate professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology. “This work is often done by molecular biologists who may lack formal training in histology or brain development. This atlas will allow researchers to identify the brain structures seen under the microscope that are involved in gene changes.”

Schambra’s book, Prenatal Mouse Brain Atlas, contains 280 low- and high-magnification color images with matching diagrams of labeled structures that follow mouse brain development from early embryonic to late fetal stages. Much of that material is also available on a DVD included with the book. An expanded version of two of the 12 chapters of the book is also available via the “Electronic Prenatal Mouse Brain Atlas” Web site at

“The mouse brain develops very quickly, and the atlas displays the changes that occur during a time span of six days in mouse development which is comparable to most of a human pregnancy,” she explained. “Scientists can watch how genes perform during the progression of brain development and, most importantly, understand when and where malfunctions of brain development occur that may lead to the development of diseases and disorders.”

Prenatal Mouse Brain Atlas is published by Springer Publishing Company.


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