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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2005;28:89-108.

Large-scale genomic approaches to brain development and circuitry.

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  • 1Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Over the past two decades, molecular genetic studies have enabled a common conceptual framework for the development and basic function of the nervous system. These studies, and the pioneering efforts of mouse geneticists and neuroscientists to identify and clone genes for spontaneous mouse mutants, have provided a paradigm for understanding complex processes of the vertebrate brain. Gene cloning for human brain malformations and degenerative disorders identified other important central nervous system (CNS) genes. However, because many debilitating human disorders are genetically complex, phenotypic screens are difficult to design. This difficulty has led to large-scale, genomic approaches to discover genes that are uniquely expressed in brain circuits and regions that control complex behaviors. In this review, we summarize current phenotype- and genotype-driven approaches to discover novel CNS-expressed genes, as well as current approaches to carry out large-scale, gene-expression screens in the CNS.

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