News
28/4/2017

CRG: A new study revises the development and evolutionary origin of the vertebrate brain

CRG: A new study revises the development and evolutionary origin of the vertebrate brain


News from CRG


A study recently published in PLOS Biology provides information that substantially changes the prevailing idea about the brain formation process in vertebrates and sheds some light on how it might have evolved. The findings show that the interpretation maintained hitherto regarding the principal regions formed at the beginning of vertebrate brain development is not correct. This research was led jointly by the researchers José Luis Ferran and Luis Puelles of the Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology of the UMU; Manuel Irimia of the CRG, and Jordi García Fernández of the Genetics Department of the UB.

“We set out to understand what the brain of the cephalocordate amphioxus was like. It is a very simple invertebrate organism, albeit very close to us in evolutionary terms, therefore it gives us some insights as to what our ancestors might have been like. Hence, by comparing the territories of the modern vertebrate brain to that of amphioxus, we analysed what might have occurred to lead them to multiply and how such a complex structure was formed in the course of our evolution”, explained the lecturer of the Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology of the University of Murcia (UMU) José Luis Ferrán, one of the researchers.

This work shows that the brain of vertebrates must have formed initially from two regions (anterior and posterior), and not three (forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain), as proposed by the current prosomeric model.

More information:
CRG website

Reference article:
Albuixech-Crespo et al. (2017) Molecular regionalization of the developing amphioxus neural tube challenges major partitions of the vertebrate brain. PLoS Biol 15(4): e2001573. DOI: 10.1371/journal. pbio.2001573