Editors' ChoiceHUMAN BIOLOGY

Neuron development in human embryos

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Science  02 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6316, pp. 1115-1116
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6316.1115-d

Mammalian fertility depends on the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from a population of specialized neurons residing in the hypothalamus. During embryogenesis, these neurons develop at the olfactory placodes, and they subsequently migrate to the brain. Very little is known about the process in humans, however. Casoni et al. have studied this in depth by using donated human embryonic tissue. They tracked the differentiation and migration of GnRH neurons through the first trimester of gestation by examining samples at different developmental stages and identified important differences between humans and rodents. Unexpectedly, they also found that some of these neurons migrate to extra-hypothalmic regions of the brain, suggesting that they play roles in other processes not linked to fertility

Development 10.1242/dev.139444 (2016).

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