Genome-wide transcriptional profiling was used to characterize the molecular underpinnings of neocortical organization in rhesus macaque, including cortical areal specialization and laminar cell-type diversity. Microarray analysis of individual cortical layers across sensorimotor and association cortices identified robust and specific molecular signatures for individual cortical layers and areas, prominently involving genes associated with specialized neuronal function. Overall, transcriptome-based relationships were related to spatial proximity, being strongest between neighboring cortical areas and between proximal layers. Primary visual cortex (V1) displayed the most distinctive gene expression compared to other cortical regions in rhesus and human, both in the specialized layer 4 as well as other layers. Laminar patterns were more similar between macaque and human compared to mouse, as was the unique V1 profile that was not observed in mouse. These data provide a unique resource detailing neocortical transcription patterns in a nonhuman primate with great similarity in gene expression to human.
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