Chapter

Introduction

David J. Price and David J. Willshaw

in Mechanisms of Cortical Development

Published in print April 2000 | ISBN: 9780192624277
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723735 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192624277.003.0001

Series: Monographs of the Physiological Society

Introduction

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Life on Earth began several billion years ago. The cerebral cortex of mammals probably arose from the primordial cortex of amphibians and reptiles some 300 million years ago. The evolution of the mammalian brain has involved the disproportionate enlargement of the cortex and, in particular, the rapid development of the neocortex. This book explains what is known about the fundamental mechanisms that underlie the development of the neocortex of mammals, drawing on supporting evidence from other species, particularly other vertebrates. The developmental biology of cortical cells and the morphology of the structures that they form is interwoven with a detailed account of their biochemistry and the genetic origin of the factors that are thought to control key developmental processes. While the primary account of the development of the neocortex necessarily is of the results of experimental neuroscience, where appropriate the results are interpreted on the basis of the various formal models that have been proposed. Understanding the mechanisms of cortical development will have a great impact on our ability to comprehend and treat neurological diseases.

Keywords: cerebral cortex; evolution; mammals; developmental biology; neocortex; cortical development; biochemistry; formal models; neuroscience; neurological diseases

Chapter.  3686 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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