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Neuron. 2011 Nov 17;72(4):537-44. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.08.021.

Genetic influences on cortical regionalization in the human brain.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Animal data demonstrate that the development of distinct cortical areas is influenced by genes that exhibit highly regionalized expression patterns. In this paper, we show genetic patterning of cortical surface area derived from MRI data from 406 adult human twins. We mapped genetic correlations of areal expansion between selected seed regions and all other cortical locations, with the selection of seed points based on results from animal studies. "Marching seeds" and a data-driven, hypothesis-free, fuzzy-clustering approach provided convergent validation. The results reveal strong anterior-to-posterior graded, bilaterally symmetric patterns of regionalization, largely consistent with patterns previously reported in nonhuman mammalian models. Broad similarities in genetic patterning between rodents and humans might suggest a conservation of cortical patterning mechanisms, whereas dissimilarities might reflect the functionalities most essential to each species.

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