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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Feb;17(1):73-80. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Mechanisms of eye-specific visual circuit development.

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Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Eye-specific visual connections are a prominent model system for exploring how precise circuits develop in the CNS and, in particular, for addressing the role of neural activity in synapse elimination and axon refinement. Recent experiments have identified the features of spontaneous retinal activity that mediate eye-specific retinogeniculate segregation, the synaptic events associated with this process, and the importance of axon guidance cues for organizing the overall layout of eye-specific maps. The classic model of ocular dominance column development, in which spontaneous retinal activity plays a crucial role, has also gained new support. Although many outstanding questions remain, the mechanisms that instruct eye-specific circuit development are becoming clear.

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