4 years ago

Developmental and genetic mechanisms of neural circuit evolution

Regardless of how a nervous system is genetically built, natural selection is acting on the functional outcome of its activity. To understand how nervous systems evolve, it is essential to analyze how their functional units – the neural circuits – change and adapt over time. A neural circuit can evolve in many different ways, and the underlying developmental and genetic mechanisms involve different sets of genes. Therefore, the comparison of gene expression can help reconstructing circuit evolution, as demonstrated by several examples in sensory systems. Functional constraints on neural circuit evolution suggest that in nervous systems developmental and genetic variants do not appear randomly, and that the evolution of neuroanatomy might be biased. Sensory systems, in particular, seem to evolve along trajectories that enhance their evolvability, ensuring adaptation to different environments.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0012160617301495

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