Broadening the functional and evolutionary understanding of postnatal neurogenesis using reptilian models

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Abstract

The production of new neurons in the brains of adult animals was first identified by Altman and Das in 1965, but it was not until the late 20th century when methods for visualizing new neuron production improved that there was a dramatic increase in research on neurogenesis in the adult brain. We now know that adult neurogenesis is a ubiquitous process that occurs across a wide range of taxonomic groups. This process has largely been studied in mammals; however, there are notable differences between mammals and other taxonomic groups in how, why and where new neuron production occurs. This Review will begin by describing the processes of adult neurogenesis in reptiles and identifying the similarities and differences in these processes between reptiles and model rodent species. Further, this Review underscores the importance of appreciating how wild-caught animals vary in neurogenic properties compared with laboratory-reared animals and how this can be used to broaden the functional and evolutionary understanding of why and how new neurons are produced in the adult brain. Studying variation in neural processes across taxonomic groups provides an evolutionary context to adult neurogenesis while also advancing our overall understanding of neurogenesis and brain plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe Journal of experimental biology
Volume223
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 11 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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