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Trends Cogn Sci. 2016 May;20(5):345-361. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2016.03.001. Epub 2016 Mar 26.

Comparative Connectomics.

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Department of Psychiatry, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; ImmunoPsychiatry, Academic Discovery Performance Unit, GlaxoSmithKline, Cambridge, UK.
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana University Network Science Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.


We introduce comparative connectomics, the quantitative study of cross-species commonalities and variations in brain network topology that aims to discover general principles of network architecture of nervous systems and the identification of species-specific features of brain connectivity. By comparing connectomes derived from simple to more advanced species, we identify two conserved themes of wiring: the tendency to organize network topology into communities that serve specialized functionality and the general drive to enable high topological integration by means of investment of neural resources in short communication paths, hubs, and rich clubs. Within the space of wiring possibilities that conform to these common principles, we argue that differences in connectome organization between closely related species support adaptations in cognition and behavior.

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