Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, established the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle in 2003. By integrating genomic and anatomic information, as well as sophisticated data search and viewing tools, the unique resources of the Institute offer researchers unprecedented access to details and patterns of gene activity throughout the brain. The information is stored in Atlases:
1. ALLEN Mouse Brain Atlas – an interactive, genome-wide, three-dimensional map of gene expression throughout the adult mouse brain
2. ALLEN Spinal Cord Atlas – an interactive, genome-wide map of gene expression across the adult and juvenile mouse spinal cords
3. ALLEN Developing Mouse Brain Atlas – a detailed three-dimensional map revealing how genes change during the development of the brain
4. ALLEN Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas – three-dimensional, high-resolution map of neural connections throughout the mouse brain
5. ALLEN Human Brain Atlas – a one-of-a-kind resource for understanding genes at work in the human brain
Most importantly, all the data is in open access. Allen says:
… we generate data for the purpose of sharing it. Since opening shop in 2003, we’ve had 23 public releases, or about three per year. We don’t wait to analyze our raw data and publish in the literature. We pour it onto the public website as soon as it passes our quality control checks. Our goal is to speed others’ discoveries as much as to springboard our own future research.
I think we’d get more bang for our buck by making more data more useful to more scientists—and, by extension, to the world community that will benefit from their work
Paul Allen is definitely brilliant. I believe, researchers in the whole world can benefit a lot by having open access to any scientific publication, clinical trial data or pharmacological company data sets they want. This could accelerate progress a great deal and make radical life extension much closer to reality.