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The telencephalon shows the greatest expansion and elaboration of the nervous system across vertebrates. Sauropsids and mammals enlarged different sectors of their pallium, the dorsal telencephalon, to form the anatomical substrates of our most complex behaviours. Mammals uniquely possess a six-layered neocortex. How the neocortex appeared during evolution? Predicted by evolutionary-developmental theories, the early embryonic brain structures appear well conserved across different vertebrate lineages with resemblance of the stem amniote brain organization. The telencephalon initially displays a basic organization in sauropsids and mammals, but subsequent development diverges. In the lab we try to understand how modifications in the proliferation of neural stem progenitor cells in different sectors and the migration and differentiation of their progeny is the source of forebrain divergence described in extant species. Studying the lineages of homologous progenitor populations in chick and mouse we are trying to translate developmental changes into evolutionary trends.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sarah Noujaim.