A Genetic Model of the Connectome
The connectomes of organisms of the same species show remarkable architectural and often local wiring similarity, raising the question: where and how is neuronal connectivity encoded? Here, we start from the hypothesis that the genetic identity of neurons guides synapse and gap-junction formation and show that such genetically driven wiring predicts the existence of specific biclique motifs in the connectome. We identify a family of large, statistically significant biclique subgraphs in the connectomes of three species and show that within many of the observed bicliques the neurons share statistically significant expression patterns and morphological characteristics, supporting our expectation of common genetic factors that drive the synapse formation within these subgraphs. The proposed connectome model offers a self-consistent framework to link the genetics of an organism to the reproducible architecture of its connectome, offering experimentally falsifiable predictions on the genetic factors that drive the formation of individual neuronal circuits.