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Optogenetics: a revolution within every lab’s reach

For the inaugural OpenOptogenetics blog post, we would like to explore an issue that is central to this site’s existence: why the barriers to beginning an optogenetics project are low, and why a dedicated wiki can help keep them that way.

Optogenetics is a field with nearly unprecedented momentum, and for good reason. Optogenetic tools will become an increasingly vital part of researchers’ toolkits because they allow us to take a huge leap toward one of the primary goals of neuroscience: interacting with neural circuits in meaningful ways and on the timescale at which neurons operate. To facilitate the spread of these tools, and to ensure they are used effectively, we need to develop an open, centralized resource for sharing ideas with the whole neuroscience community. The major players in the field have already established a culture of openness (for example, see 1 and 2), but their techniques can still seem abstruse to prospective adopters. Even when reagents and protocols are made freely available, there are many steps between obtaining your first aliquot of ChR2 virus and running a successful experiment. We hope this wiki (and this blog) will make those steps easier and more affordable for everyone, no matter … Continue reading

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