In a recent study published in Cell, a team of researchers from the Harry Perkins Medical Institute and the University of Western Australia have jointly mapped the world’s first atlas that shows changes in the genetic activity of human brain cells.
The human brain contains billions of cells, each with its own specific function, but this takes a long time to establish.
During this process, brain cells undergo complex changes that are largely regulated by the precision of genes.
This new study draws a high-resolution map showing how the genetic activity of different types of brain cells changes with individual development during different periods of time in humans, from before birth to adulthood, thus precisely controlling cellular evolution.
In addition, the researchers obtained postmortem brain tissue from neurotypical individuals to track each individual type of cell in the developing and aging human brain.
The study found that different neurological and psychiatric disorders appear at specific times during development, for example, people with autism spectrum disorders may sometimes develop schizophrenia during adolescence.
This new map suggests that most brain-related disorders develop over time, so this finding could help identify these disorders early for earlier intervention.