Abstract

In a recent article, Prinz, Bucher, and Marder (2004) addressed the fundamental question of whether neural systems are built with a fixed blueprint of tightly controlled parameters or in a way in which properties can vary largely from one individual to another, using a database modeling approach. Here, we examine the main conclusion that neural circuits indeed are built with largely varying parameters in the light of our own experimental and modeling observations. We critically discuss the experimental and theoretical evidence, including the general adequacy of database approaches for questions of this kind, and come to the conclusion that the last word for this fundamental question has not yet been spoken.

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