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Targeting genes to specific neuronal or glial cell types is valuable both for understanding and for repairing brain circuits. Adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs) are frequently used for gene delivery, but targeting expression to specific cell types is a challenge. We created a library of 230 AAVs, each with a different synthetic promoter designed using four independent strategies. We show that ~11% of these AAVs specifically target expression to neuronal and glial cell types in the mouse retina, mouse brain, non-human primate retina in vivo, and in the human retina in vitro. We demonstrate applications for recording, stimulation, and molecular characterization, as well as the intersectional and combinatorial labeling of cell types. These resources and approaches allow economic, fast, and efficient cell-type targeting in a variety of species, both for fundamental science and for gene therapy.

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