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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Search for computational modules in the C. elegans brain

Markus Reigl1, Uri Alon2 and Dmitri B Chklovskii1*

Author Affiliations

1 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA

2 Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Department of Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100, Israel

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BMC Biology 2004, 2:25  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-2-25

Published: 2 December 2004



Does the C. elegans nervous system contain multi-neuron computational modules that perform stereotypical functions? We attempt to answer this question by searching for recurring multi-neuron inter-connectivity patterns in the C. elegans nervous system's wiring diagram.


Our statistical analysis reveals that some inter-connectivity patterns containing two, three and four (but not five) neurons are significantly over-represented relative to the expectations based on the statistics of smaller inter-connectivity patterns.


Over-represented patterns (or motifs) are candidates for computational modules that may perform stereotypical functions in the C. elegans nervous system. These modules may appear in other species and need to be investigated further.