A stochastic framework of neurogenesis underlies the assembly of neocortical cytoarchitecture

Alfredo Llorca, Gabriele Ciceri, Robert Beattie, Fong Kuan Wong, Giovanni Diana, Eleni Serafeimidou-Pouliou, Marian Fernández-Otero, Carmen Streicher, Sebastian J. Arnold, Martin Meyer, Simon Hippenmeyer, Miguel Maravall, Oscar Marín*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


The cerebral cortex contains multiple areas with distinctive cytoarchitectonical patterns, but the cellular mechanisms underlying the emergence of this diversity remain unclear. Here, we have investigated the neuronal output of individual progenitor cells in the developing mouse neocortex using a combination of methods that together circumvent the biases and limitations of individual approaches. Our experimental results indicate that progenitor cells generate pyramidal cell lineages with a wide range of sizes and laminar configurations. Mathematical modelling indicates that these outcomes are compatible with a stochastic model of cortical neurogenesis in which progenitor cells undergo a series of probabilistic decisions that lead to the specification of very heterogeneous progenies. Our findings support a mechanism for cortical neurogenesis whose flexibility would make it capable to generate the diverse cytoarchitectures that characterize distinct neocortical areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere51381
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


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