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Trends Neurosci. 2000 Jan;23(1):1-12.

Do birds possess homologues of mammalian primary visual, somatosensory and motor cortices?

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Dept of Morphological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Murcia, Spain.


Recent data on the expression of several homeobox genes in the embryonic telencephalon of mammals, birds and reptiles support the homology of a part of the avian pallium, named the Wulst, and at least the more-medial and superior parts of mammalian neocortex. This conclusion is also supported by previous embryological, topological and hodological data. Furthermore, new evidence on the connections and electrophysiological properties of specific subfields within the avian Wulst, and on the thalamic territories that project to these fields, supports the more-specific conclusion that a primary visual area and a primary somatosensory-somatomotor area are present in the avian Wulst; these areas are likely to be homologous to their counterparts in mammals. In spite of this, developmental, morphological and comparative evidence indicate that some structural and physiological traits that appear to be similar in the Wulst and neocortex (such as the lamination or binocularity) evolved independently in birds and mammals.

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