The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 62: 207 - 224 (2018)

Vol 62, Issue 1-2-3

Special Issue: The Chick Embryo Model System

Developmental studies of avian brain organization

Published: 14 March 2018

Luis Puelles*

University of Murcia and IMIB-Arrixaca, Dept Human Anatomy, Murcia, Spain


Avian brain organization or brain Bauplan is identical with that of vertebrates in general. This essay visits avian studies that contained advances or discussions about brain organization, trying to explain critically what they contributed. In order to start from a specific background, the new prevailing paradigm as regards brain organization, the prosomeric model, is presented first. Next a brief historic survey is made of how ideas on this topic evolved from the start of modern neuromorphology at the end of the 19th century. Longitudinal zonal organization with or without transverse segmentation (neuromeres) was the first overall concept applied to the brain. The idea of neuromeric structure later decayed in favour of a columnar model. This emphasized functional correlations rather than causal developmental content, assimilating forebrain functions to hindbrain ones. Though it became prevalent in the post-world-war period of neuroscience, in the last decades of the 20th century advances in molecular biology allowed developmental genes to be mapped, and it became evident that gene expression patterns support the old neuromeric model rather than the columnar one. This was also corroborated by modern experimental approaches (fate-mapping and analysis of patterning).


brain axis, longitudinal zone, neuromere, prosomeric model, columnar model

Full text in web format is not available for this article. Please download the PDF version.