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Recent advances in understanding neocortical development [version 1; peer review: 2 approved]

AuthorsBorrell, V.
KeywordsRadial glia
Cell lineage
Cortex folding
Basal progenitors
Cerebral cortex evolution
Progenitor proliferation
Issue Date2019
CitationF1000Research 8: 1791 (2019)
AbstractThe neocortex is the largest part of the mammalian brain and is the seat of our higher cognitive functions. This outstanding neural structure increased massively in size and complexity during evolution in a process recapitulated today during the development of extant mammals. Accordingly, defects in neocortical development commonly result in severe intellectual and social deficits. Thus, understanding the development of the neocortex benefits from understanding its evolution and disease and also informs about their underlying mechanisms. Here, I briefly summarize the most recent and outstanding advances in our understanding of neocortical development and focus particularly on dorsal progenitors and excitatory neurons. I place special emphasis on the specification of neural stem cells in distinct classes and their proliferation and production of neurons and then discuss recent findings on neuronal migration. Recent discoveries on the genetic evolution of neocortical development are presented with a particular focus on primates. Progress on all these fronts is being accelerated by high-throughput gene expression analyses and particularly single-cell transcriptomics. I end with novel insights into the involvement of microglia in embryonic brain development and how improvements in cultured cerebral organoids are gradually consolidating them as faithful models of neocortex development in humans.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.20332.1
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