Research Article

Early Development of Ocular Dominance Columns

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Science  17 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5495, pp. 1321-1324
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5495.1321

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The segregation of lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) axons into ocular dominance columns is believed to involve a prolonged, activity-dependent sorting process. However, visualization of early postnatal ferret LGN axons by direct LGN tracer injections revealed segregated ocular dominance columns <7 days after innervation of layer 4. These early columns were unaffected by experimentally induced imbalances in retinal activity, implying that different mechanisms govern initial column formation and their modification during the subsequent critical period. Instead of activity-dependent plasticity, we propose that ocular dominance column formation relies on the targeting of distinct axonal populations to defined locales in cortical layer 4.

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