Introduction to the Neuromorphological File Format
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MBF Bioscience has chosen to openly document their digital reconstruction file format, Neuromorphological File Specification (4.0), available at www.mbfbioscience.com/filespecification (Angstman et al. 2020). The structures represented have been continually developed for over 30 years, balancing accurate 3D representation of microscopic structures with the efficiency for reading, writing, storing, and rendering the reconstruction data. The neuromorphological file format balances structure with flexibility by storing each modeled object as a unique data element, and providing mechanisms for grouping any number and type of data elements. File-level metadata is retained to provide detail on the origin of the sample, ensuring that the provenance of derivative data is tracked and that important source information is not separated from the corresponding data. The decision to implement each neuromorphological structure, from spines to varicosities, was influenced by top neuroscientists who sought to maintain a meaningful model and have the necessary analysis options for that entity. The file specification has evolved with academia and discovery, and will continue to be updated as needed to define added or modified data elements.