Evolutionary expansion and complexification of the primate cerebral cortex are largely linked to the emergence of the outer subventricular zone (OSVZ), a uniquely structured germinal zone that generates the expanded primate supragranular layers. The primate OSVZ departs from rodent germinal zones in that it includes a higher diversity of precursor types, inter-related in bidirectional non-hierarchical lineages. In addition, primate-specific regulatory mechanisms are operating in primate cortical precursors via the occurrence of novel miRNAs. Here, we propose that the origin and evolutionary importance of the OSVZ is related to genetic changes in multiple regulatory loops and that cell-cycle regulation is a favored target for evolutionary adaptation of the cortex.
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