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Like Minds

Neuron precursor cells travel long distances in the developing brain

14 September 2021

Like Minds

Drawing similarities between humans and somewhat surprising creatures like fruit flies and zebrafish often allows researchers to use them as 'models' for different aspects of health and development. Researchers studying the developing brain of this newly hatched octopus larva (Octopus vulgaris) – seen just behind the eye. They found that, similar to mammals, cells destined to become neurons often migrate long distances to plug into the developing brain. Some of these cells are controlled by similar proteins or transcription factors to those that shape our own nervous systems. While our evolution took a branching path from cephalopods like the octopus, these studies suggest there may be common features in the development of large complex brains, which may reveal secrets to our own brains.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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