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The thorniest problem in comparative neurobiology is the identification of the particular brain region of birds and reptiles that corresponds to the mammalian neocortex [Butler AB, Reiner A, Karten HJ (2011) Ann N Y Acad Sci 1225:14-27; Wang Y, Brzozowska-Prechtl A, Karten HJ (2010) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(28):12676-12681]. We explored which genes are actively transcribed in the regions of controversial ancestry in a representative bird (chicken) and mammal (mouse) at adult stages. We conducted four analyses comparing the expression patterns of their 5,130 most highly expressed one-to-one orthologous genes that considered global patterns of expression specificity, strong gene markers, and coexpression networks. Our study demonstrates transcriptomic divergence, plausible convergence, and, in two exceptional cases, conservation between specialized avian and mammalian telencephalic regions. This large-scale study potentially resolves the complex relationship between developmental homology and functional characteristics on the molecular level and settles long-standing evolutionary debates.

Original publication

DOI

10.1073/pnas.1307444110

Type

Journal article

Journal

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date

06/08/2013

Volume

110

Pages

13150 - 13155

Keywords

Wulst, brain evolution, cerebral cortex, dorsal ventricular ridge, equivalent circuit hypothesis, Animals, Brain, Chickens, Female, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Regulatory Networks, Globus Pallidus, In Situ Hybridization, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Models, Anatomic, Models, Genetic, Telencephalon, Time Factors, Transcriptome