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AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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In building the brain, cell pedigree matters

Study reveals how a neural precursor protein shapes the future of neurons in the cerebral cortex

 

The cerebral cortex—the brain’s epicenter of high-level cognitive functions, such as memory formation, attention, thought, language and consciousness—has fascinated neuroscientists for centuries.

Scientists have long known that this “command center” is organized into six distinct regions, or layers, but how this complex organization arises during development has remained largely a mystery. 

Now, research led by Harvard Medical School scientists provides some tantalizing new clues into the development of the mammalian cerebral cortex.

The experiments were conducted in mice. If replicated in further studies, these findings could reshape our understanding of a range of neurodevelopmental disorders.

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