News of the WeekNeuroscience

New Route to Big Brains

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Science  07 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5536, pp. 1746-1747
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5536.1746b

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Building a bigger brain is an evolutionary challenge. In addition to all the extra neurons and other brain cells that have to develop, somehow all those cells have to be wired together correctly. Now researchers report that in humans--but apparently not in other species--some neurons in the developing brain travel along an unexpected route. This detour allows them to link to and serve the most overgrown and recently evolved parts of the human brain: those involved in higher functions such as memory and problem solving.