A key obstacle to understanding neural circuits in the cerebral cortex is that of unraveling the diversity of GABAergic interneurons. This diversity poses general questions for neural circuit analysis: how are these interneuron cell types generated and assembled into stereotyped local circuits and how do they differentially contribute to circuit operations that underlie cortical functions ranging from perception to cognition? Using genetic engineering in mice, we have generated and characterized approximately 20 Cre and inducible CreER knockin driver lines that reliably target major classes and lineages of GABAergic neurons. More select populations are captured by intersection of Cre and Flp drivers. Genetic targeting allows reliable identification, monitoring, and manipulation of cortical GABAergic neurons, thereby enabling a systematic and comprehensive analysis from cell fate specification, migration, and connectivity, to their functions in network dynamics and behavior. As such, this approach will accelerate the study of GABAergic circuits throughout the mammalian brain.
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