Presented by the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology
Dr. Fenna Krienen
Department of Genetics
Harvard Medical School
The expansion of the neocortex in primates has led to the emergence of brain regions that have specialized functions and connectivity, are important for cognition, and are compromised in brain disorders. What are the genetic and cellular bases for the reorganization and increased capability of the neocortex in primates? I will share the results of work to understand the neocortex across multiple scales – from functional connectivity to single-cell genomics – and in multiple species. These data teach us how the cellular and molecular repertoires of conserved brain regions have evolved on long time scales. Understanding how gene expression, cell types and connectivity changed or persisted during the evolutionary divergence of primates and rodents will guide the choice of models for human brain disorders and mutations and help to identify the substrates of expanded cognition in humans and other primates.