Neural reuse in the evolution and development of the brain: evidence for developmental homology?

Dev Psychobiol. 2013 Jan;55(1):42-51. doi: 10.1002/dev.21055. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

Abstract

This article lays out some of the empirical evidence for the importance of neural reuse-the reuse of existing (inherited and/or early developing) neural circuitry for multiple behavioral purposes-in defining the overall functional structure of the brain. We then discuss in some detail one particular instance of such reuse: the involvement of a local neural circuit in finger awareness, number representation, and other diverse functions. Finally, we consider whether and how the notion of a developmental homology can help us understand the relationships between the cognitive functions that develop out of shared neural supports.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*