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Nat Rev Genet. 2000 Oct;1(1):20-9.

Neuronal specification in the spinal cord: inductive signals and transcriptional codes.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Neural circuits are assembled with remarkable precision during embryonic development, and the selectivity inherent in their formation helps to define the behavioural repertoire of the mature organism. In the vertebrate central nervous system, this developmental program begins with the differentiation of distinct classes of neurons from progenitor cells located at defined positions within the neural tube. The mechanisms that specify the identity of neural cells have been examined in many regions of the nervous system and reveal a high degree of conservation in the specification of cell fate by key signalling molecules.

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