Biological individuals typically vary so much in so many ways that scientists need to examine assortments of them to draw conclusions. Large-scale connectomics could give neuroscience the same kind of huge boost that fast, simple genome sequencing brought to genomics.
Recent work with C. elegans has demonstrated the power of large-scale connectomics. One experiment showed that it’s sometimes possible for scientists to predict the behavior of an animal from a knowledge of its connectome; another hinted at rules governing the linkage of neurons into working circuits. Those successes, however, also underscore how far large-scale connectomics still needs to go before it can tackle much more complex creatures. Researchers are also cautious about built-in limitations to what connectomics can tell us.