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Analysis of multiplex gene expression maps obtained by voxelationBACKGROUND: Gene expression signatures in the mammalian brain hold the key to understanding neural development and neurological disease. Researchers have previously used voxelation in combination with microarrays for acquisition of genome-wide atlases of expression patterns in the mouse brain. On the other hand, some work has been performed on studying gene functions, without taking into account the location information of a gene's expression in a mouse brain. In this paper, we present an approach for identifying the relation between gene expression maps obtained by voxelation and gene functions. RESULTS: To analyze the dataset, we chose typical genes as queries and aimed at discovering similar gene groups. Gene similarity was determined by using the wavelet features extracted from the left and right hemispheres averaged gene expression maps, and by the Euclidean distance between each pair of feature vectors. We also performed a multiple clustering approach on the gene expression maps, combined with hierarchical clustering. Among each group of similar genes and clusters, the gene function similarity was measured by calculating the average gene function distances in the gene ontology structure. By applying our methodology to find similar genes to certain target genes we were able to improve our understanding of gene expression patterns and gene functions. By applying the clustering analysis method, we obtained significant clusters, which have both very similar gene expression maps and very similar gene functions respectively to their corresponding gene ontologies. The cellular component ontology resulted in prominent clusters expressed in cortex and corpus callosum. The molecular function ontology gave prominent clusters in cortex, corpus callosum and hypothalamus. The biological process ontology resulted in clusters in cortex, hypothalamus and choroid plexus. Clusters from all three ontologies combined were most prominently expressed in cortex and corpus callosum. CONCLUSION: The experimental results confirm the hypothesis that genes with similar gene expression maps might have similar gene functions. The voxelation data takes into account the location information of gene expression level in mouse brain, which is novel in related research. The proposed approach can potentially be used to predict gene functions and provide helpful suggestions to biologists.
Infants’ Somatotopic Neural Responses to Seeing Human Actions: I’ve Got You under My SkinHuman infants rapidly learn new skills and customs via imitation, but the neural linkages between action perception and production are not well understood. Neuroscience studies in adults suggest that a key component of imitation-identifying the corresponding body part used in the acts of self and other-has an organized neural signature. In adults, perceiving someone using a specific body part (e.g., hand vs. foot) is associated with activation of the corresponding area of the sensory and/or motor strip in the observer's brain-a phenomenon called neural somatotopy. Here we examine whether preverbal infants also exhibit somatotopic neural responses during the observation of others' actions. 14-month-old infants were randomly assigned to watch an adult reach towards and touch an object using either her hand or her foot. The scalp electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded and event-related changes in the sensorimotor mu rhythm were analyzed. Mu rhythm desynchronization was greater over hand areas of sensorimotor cortex during observation of hand actions and was greater over the foot area for observation of foot actions. This provides the first evidence that infants' observation of someone else using a particular body part activates the corresponding areas of sensorimotor cortex. We hypothesize that this somatotopic organization in the developing brain supports imitation and cultural learning. The findings connect developmental cognitive neuroscience, adult neuroscience, action representation, and behavioral imitation.