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Why has diffusion MRI become a principal modality for mapping connectomes in vivo? How do different image acquisition parameters, fiber tracking algorithms and other methodological choices affect connectome estimation? What are the main factors that dictate the success and failure of connectome reconstruction? These are some of the key questions that we aim to address in this review. We provide an overview of the key methods that can be used to estimate the nodes and edges of macroscale connectomes, and we discuss open problems and inherent limitations. We argue that diffusion MRI-based connectome mapping methods are still in their infancy and caution against blind application of deep white matter tractography due to the challenges inherent to connectome reconstruction. We review a number of studies that provide evidence of useful microstructural and network properties that can be extracted in various independent and biologically relevant contexts. Finally, we highlight some of the key deficiencies of current macroscale connectome mapping methodologies and motivate future developments.

Original publication




Journal article


NMR Biomed

Publication Date





brain network, connections, parcellation, tracers, tractography, white matter fibers