Neurobiological bases of rhythmic motor acts in vertebrates

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Science  12 Apr 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4696, pp. 143-149
DOI: 10.1126/science.3975635


The general principles governing the nervous control of innate motor acts in vertebrates are discussed. Particular consideration is given to the control of locomotion in both mammals and lower vertebrates. One in vitro model of the lamprey central nervous system has been developed. It can be maintained in vitro for several days and the motor pattern underlying locomotion can be elicited in isolated sections of the spinal cord. These findings now allow a detailed analysis of the underlying neural mechanisms. The hypothesis that different parts of the network controlling locomotion can be used in a variety of other motor acts, including learned ones, is reviewed.

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