During the last decade, the questions on the functionality of adult neurogenesis have changed their emphasis from if to how the adult-born neurons participate in a variety of memory processes. The emerging answers are complex because we are overwhelmed by a variety of behavioral tasks that apparently require new neurons to be performed optimally. With few exceptions, the hippocampal memory system seems to use the newly generated neurons for multiple roles. Adult neurogenesis has given the dentate gyrus new capabilities not previously thought possible within the scope of traditional synaptic plasticity. Looking at these new developments from the perspective of past discoveries, the science of adult neurogenesis has emerged from its initial phase of being, first, a surprising oddity and, later, exciting possibility, to the present state of being an integral part of mainstream neuroscience. The answers to many remaining questions regarding adult neurogenesis will come along only with our growing understanding of the functionality of the brain as a whole. This, in turn, will require integration of multiple levels of organization from molecules and cells to circuits and systems, ultimately resulting in comprehension of behavioral outcomes.
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