Max Planck Institute for Brain Research
Host: Oliver Hobert
Title: "Evolution of the cerebral cortex at a single-cell resolution"
Abstract: Computations in the mammalian cortex are carried out by a diverse set of glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons forming specialized circuits and areas. How did these neurons, circuits and areas evolve from those in earlier vertebrates? We addressed this issue in amniotes, by characterizing the dorsal telencephalon of two distant reptilian species, using large-scale single-cell mRNA sequencing. In this presentation, I will describe how we used this molecular atlas of the reptilian telencephalon to infer the evolutionary history of brain regions such as neocortex, hippocampus and amygdala. Our comparison of neuronal diversity across species indicates that, in the lineage leading to mammals, the neocortex emerged from the integration of ancestral GABAergic interneuron types and newly evolved glutamatergic neurons.