That may be why mouse studies don’t always tell the right story.
The most detailed study of its kind has found human brains are remarkably similar to mouse brains. But it also found subtle differences that could explain why many psych drugs that show promise in mouse studies don’t work in people.
The outer layer of the human brain, called the cortex, is a bona fide biological marvel, playing a leading role in thinking, talking, remembering, moving limbs and, for good measure, consciousness.
Such superpowers call for serious kit.
Our brain boasts 16 billion neurons, the cells that relay messages, and a supporting cast of 61 billion other cells that provide neurons with scaffolding, insulation, nutrition and protection from disease.
In all, the human cortex is 1000 times bigger than that of the mouse, a species we parted company with 65 million years ago when our last common ancestor is believed to have lived.
Despite that evolutionary gulf, research led by Ed Lein from the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, US, has found that we share a surprising amount of brain architecture with our rodent cousins.
Read the full story in Cosmos magazine here