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Abstract

With the discovery of the incredible diversity of neurons, Cajal and coworkers laid the foundation of modern neuroscience. Neuron types are not only structural units of nervous systems but also evolutionary units, because their identities are encoded in the genome. With the advent of high-throughput cellular transcriptomics, neuronal identities can be characterized and compared systematically across species. The comparison of neurons in mammals, reptiles, and birds indicates that the mammalian cerebral cortex is a mosaic of deeply conserved and recently evolved neuron types. Using the cerebral cortex as a case study, this review illustrates how comparing neuron types across species is key to reconciling observations on neural development, neuroanatomy, circuit wiring, and physiology for an integrated understanding of brain evolution.

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2021-10-06
2024-04-20
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