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Wullimann, Mario F. (2009): Secondary neurogenesis and telencephalic organization in zebrafish and mice: a brief review. In: Integrative Zoology, Vol. 4, No. 1: pp. 123-133
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Most zebrafish neurodevelopmental studies have focused on the embryo, which is characterized by primary neurogenesis of mostly transient neurons. Secondary neurogenesis becomes dominant in the hatching larva, when major brain parts are established and begin to differentiate. This developmental period allows for a comparative analysis of zebrafish brain organization with amniotes at equivalent stages of neurogenesis. Within a particular time window, the early forebrains of mice (Embyronic stage [E] 12.5/13.5 days [d]) and zebrafish (3 d) reveal highly comparable expression patterns of genes involved in neurogenesis, for example proneural and other transcription factors (Neurogenin1, NeuroD, Mash1/Zash1a and Pax6). Further topological correspondences are seen in the expression of LIM and homeobox genes, such as Lhx6/7, Tbr2 and Dlx2a. When this analysis is extended to gamma-aminobutyric acid/glutamic acid decarboxylase (GABA/GAD) cell patterns during this critical time window, an astonishing degree of similarity between the two species is again seen, for example regarding the presence of GABA/GAD cells in the subpallium, with the pallium only starting to be invaded by such cells from the subpallium. Furthermore, the expression of proneural and other genes correlates with GABA cell patterns (e. g. Mash1/Zash1a gene expression in GABA-positive and Neurogenin1/NeuroD in GABA-negative telencephalic regions) in mice and zebrafish. Data from additional vertebrates, such as Xenopus, are also highly consistent with this analysis. Therefore, the vertebrate forebrain appears to undergo a phylotypic stage of secondary neurogenesis, characterized by regionally separated GABAergic (inhibitory) versus glutamatergic (excitatory) cell production sites, which are obscured later in development by tangential migration. This period is highly advantageous for molecular neuroanatomical cross-species comparisons.