Deep evolutionary origins of neurobiology: Turning the essence of 'neural' upside-down

Commun Integr Biol. 2009;2(1):60-5. doi: 10.4161/cib.2.1.7620.


It is generally assumed, both in common-sense argumentations and scientific concepts, that brains and neurons represent late evolutionary achievements which are present only in more advanced animals. Here we overview recently published data clearly revealing that our understanding of bacteria, unicellular eukaryotic organisms, plants, brains and neurons, rooted in the Aristotelian philosophy is flawed. Neural aspects of biological systems are obvious already in bacteria and unicellular biological units such as sexual gametes and diverse unicellular eukaryotic organisms. Altogether, processes and activities thought to represent evolutionary 'recent' specializations of the nervous system emerge rather to represent ancient and fundamental cell survival processes.

Keywords: bacteria; evolution; neuron; neurosciences; plants.