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In the human brain, information circulates along specific neuronal routes from one region to another. How did evolution settle upon that particular network architecture? Answering that question would contribute to identifying the origin of humankind's exceptional cognitive capacities. In an article published in NeuroImage, a CEA/CNRS/Paris-Saclay University team from MIRCen (CEA-Jacob) has described neuronal networks in the mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), one of the smallest primates and one of the most genetically-distant from humans.
In the human brain, to circulate from one region to another, information moves along neuronal networks often associated with particular functions such as environmental surveillance, movement initiation or behavior control, for example. These networks are often altered in numerous neurological disorders. Understanding how the specific architecture of these networks emerged in evolution would contribute to our grasp of the origins of humankind's exceptional cognitive capacities. Among the primates, the mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) is one of the smallest and most genetically-distant from humans.
They noted that the most notable anatomical differences between the lemuroid and human neuronal networks were located mostly in the high-level networks. These latter, often associated with high cognitive function, may have thus undergone specific organizational modifications during human evolution.
Resting state functional atlas and cerebral networks in mouse lemur primates at 11.7 Tesla I Neuroimage
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.