The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 64: 123 - 132 (2020)

Vol 64, Issue 1-2-3

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in India - First Part

Understanding brain development – Indian researchers’ past, present and growing contribution

Published: 23 June 2020

Bhavana Muralidharan*

Brain Development and Disease Mechanisms, Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bangalore, India


The brain is the seat of all higher-order functions in the body. Brain development and the vast array of neurons and glia it produces is a baffling mystery to be studied. Neuroscientists using a vast number of model systems have been able to crack many of the nitty-gritty details using various model systems. One way has been to size down the problem by utilizing the power of genetics using simple model systems such as Drosophila to create a fundamental framework in order to unravel the basic principles of brain development. Scientists have used simpler organisms to uncover the fundamental principles of brain development and also to study the evo-devo angle to brain development. Complex circuitry has been unraveled in complex model systems, such as the mouse, to reveal the intricacies and regional specialization of brain function. This is an ever-growing field, and with newer genetic and molecular tools, together with several new centers of excellence, India’s contribution to this fascinating field of study is continually rising. Here, I review the pioneering work done by Indian developmental neurobiologists in the past and their mounting contribution in the present.


developmental neurobiology, India, Drosophila, mouse, chick, zebrafish, developing brain, neuron, glia

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