Development and evolution of thalamocortical interactions.
Thalamocortical projections in mammals must travel through a considerable portion of the newly formed subdivisions of the embryonic forebrain. They descend through the ventral thalamus, advance in the internal capsule amongst cells which already possess dorsal thalamic projections, traverse the striatocortical junction, and then reach the cerebral cortex by associating with subplate cells and their early corticofugal fibers. The interactions of the thalamocortical projections with early generated, largely transient cells of these regions are believed to play a crucial role in their deployment. These ideas are supported by recent work on reeler and other strains of mutant mice. While we are beginning to understand the basic pattern of the cellular and molecular interactions employed in mammalian thalamocortical development, comparative developmental studies hold the promise to reveal the underlying logic of these steps and the evolutionary origin of the mammalian cerebral cortex.