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Ann Anat. 1994 Oct;176(5):395-407.

Brain growth and neocortical development in the opossum.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia 65212.


General brain growth and differentiation of the neocortex have been studied in the marsupial, Didelphis virginiana from the 10.5 day embryo through adulthood. Didelphis is born after a short gestation period of about 12.5 days, at a time when the telencephalic wall consists only of two layers and is considered to be at an embryonic stage of development. The cortical plate does not appear until late in the first postnatal week, thus neocortical development is totally a postnatal phenomenon in Didelphis as has been shown in other marsupial species examined to date. The general pattern of development and the establishment of the six-layered adult neocortex in Didelphis is similar to that described in eutherian mammals. Signs of cortical lamination can be seen as early as postnatal day 35 and the cytoarchitecture of a typical mammalian neocortex is well defined by postnatal day 60 in Didelphis prior to the onset of weaning.

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