Human Brain Development Is a Symphony in Three Movements

The human brain develops with an exquisitely timed choreography marked by distinct patterns of gene activity at different stages from the womb to adulthood, Yale researchers report in the Dec. 26 issue of the journal Neuron.  The Yale team conducted a large-scale analysis of gene activity in cerebral neocortex —an area of the brain governing perception, behavior, and cognition — at different stages of development. The analysis shows the general architecture of brain regions is largely formed in the first six months after conception by a burst of genetic activity, which is distinct for specific regions of the neocortex.