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Curr Biol. 2016 Oct 24;26(20):R1101-R1108. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.08.053.

The Influence of Wiring Economy on Nervous System Evolution.

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Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Electronic address:


The activity and maintenance of neurons requires substantial metabolic energy, resulting in selective pressure to decrease resource consumption by the nervous system. The wiring economy principle proposes that animals have evolved mechanisms that wire circuits efficiently by minimizing neurite length. Computational modeling of neuronal morphology, microcircuit organization, and neural networks reveals that wiring economy is a significant determinant of nervous system layout. The strategies for reducing wiring costs are shared across phyla and point to the possibility of generalizable rules that specify the development of efficient nervous systems. As the developmental mechanisms underpinning wiring economy are only now being elucidated, whether the molecular basis of this phenomenon is the result of conserved genetic programs or convergent evolution remains to be determined.

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