Bielen H, Pal S, Tole S, Houart C (2017) Temporal variations in early developmental decisions: an engine of forebrain evolution. Curr Opin Neurobiol 42: 152-159

Tight control of developmental timing is pivotal to many major processes in developmental biology, such as patterning, fate specification, cell cycle dynamics, cell migration and connectivity. Temporal change in these ontogenetic sequences is known as heterochrony, a major force in the evolution of body plans and organogenesis. In the last 5 years, studies in fish and rodents indicate that heterochrony in signaling during early development generates diversity in forebrain size and complexity. Here, we summarize these findings and propose that, additionally to spatio-temporal tuning of neurogenesis, temporal and quantitative modulation of signaling events drive pivotal changes in shape, size and complexity of the forebrain across evolution, participating to the generation of diversity in animal behavior and emergence of cognition.

Pubmed: 28092740