This thematic series, published in Neural Development, is edited by:
- Michael Layden, Lehigh University, USA;
- Simon Sprecher, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
Nervous systems are the heart of animal evolution. The diversity in animal behaviors, sensory biology, motility, and physiologies are driven, in a large part, by the changes to the underlying neurobiology that control them. As such, understanding the diversity of neurobiology in animals is central to our understanding of animal evolution.
One way to uncover neuronal diversity is to identify how changes to neurogenic processes and neural differentiation pathways in different species contribute to forming their distinct nervous systems. Until recently, studies were limited to a few model organisms and represented a small fraction of the existing diversity. The explosion of reverse genetic strategies coupled with the genomics revolution has unlocked our ability to investigate neurogenesis in nearly any organism. This era is allowing researchers to gain a broad perspective about how nervous systems are constructed and function in a wide array of interesting species that will ultimately provide the critical insights necessary to understand how changes in neurogenic programs have contributed to animal evolution.
Here we present a special collection of articles focused on understanding neurogenesis in an array of diverse phylogenetically informative species highlighting fundamental commonalities and differences in neuronal development throughout the animal kingdom.