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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2001 Feb;11(1):50-8.

Patterning the mammalian cerebral cortex.

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Department of Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Chicago, 947 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


When and how is the area map of the cerebral cortex set up during development? Recent studies indicate that regional pattern emerges early in cortical neurogenesis, and that this pattern does not require cues from extrinsic innervation. Studies of mutant mice indicate a role for embryonic signaling centers and for specific transcription factors in regionalizing the cortex. Thus, it is increasingly probable that the cortex is partitioned using the same types of mechanisms--and in some cases, the same gene families--that are used in patterning other parts of the embryo. This emerging model is likely to be the basis for many future studies. However, new evidence also confirms the special nature of the cerebral cortex, in that cues from developing connections appear to modify and refine the final area map.

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