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Trends Cogn Sci. 2017 Sep;21(9):703-717. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.05.010. Epub 2017 Jun 10.

Mechanisms of Connectome Development.

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ICOS Research Group, School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Electronic address:


At the centenary of D'Arcy Thompson's seminal work 'On Growth and Form', pioneering the description of principles of morphological changes during development and evolution, recent experimental advances allow us to study change in anatomical brain networks. Here, we outline potential principles for connectome development. We will describe recent results on how spatial and temporal factors shape connectome development in health and disease. Understanding the developmental origins of brain diseases in individuals will be crucial for deciding on personalized treatment options. We argue that longitudinal studies, experimentally derived parameters for connection formation, and biologically realistic computational models are needed to better understand the link between brain network development, network structure, and network function.


Caenorhabditis elegans; brain connectivity; cortical biological networks; human; macaque; neural networks; neuronal networks; rodent

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