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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2007 Jun;8(6):427-37.

Neuronal subtype specification in the cerebral cortex.

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MGH-HMS Center for Nervous System Repair, Department of Neurosurgery, Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms underlying the specification of projection neurons within the mammalian neocortex. New experimental approaches have made it possible to identify progenitors and study the lineage relationships of different neocortical projection neurons. An expanding set of genes with layer and neuronal subtype specificity have been identified within the neocortex, and their function during projection neuron development is starting to be elucidated. Here, we assess recent data regarding the nature of neocortical progenitors, review the roles of individual genes in projection neuron specification and discuss the implications for progenitor plasticity.

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