Color-coded representations of human and mouse brains show similarities in cortical functional organization, with some variance according to species-specific needs. F/M indicates the frontal/motor cortex; S1, primary somatosensory cortex; A1, auditory cortex and V1, visual cortex.
Of Mice and Men, a Common Cortical Connection
MRI study finds genetic basis of brain development largely similar in mice and humans
A new study using magnetic resonance imaging data of 406 adult human twins affirms the long-standing idea that the genetic basis of human cortical regionalization – the organization of the outer brain into specific functional areas – is similar to and consistent with patterns found in other mammals, indicating a common conservation mechanism in evolution.
The findings by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and colleagues are published in the November 17 issue of the journal Neuron.
Past animal studies, primarily in rodents, have shown that development of distinct areas of the cortex – the outer layer of the brain – is influenced by genes exhibiting highly regionalized expression patterns. The new study is among the first to confirm these findings using data from human subjects. As in other mammals, the researchers found that that genetic influences in human brain development progress along a graduating scale anterior-to-posterior (front-to-back) in a bilateral, symmetric pattern.
There were, of course, differences based upon the particular needs and functions of each species.