Functional genomics of human brain development and evolution

In this presentation, the speaker describes some of their recent efforts to characterize the transcriptome of the developing human brain, and and introduction to the BrainSpan project. Speaker: Nenad Sestan

Published Aug, 2014

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The mammalian brain develops through a dynamic and prolonged process that depends on the precise regulation of gene expression, and these processes vary across mammals to generate species-specific neural circuits and behaviors. Systematic efforts to map detailed gene expression patterns in the developing human brain have been lacking. In this presentation, I will describe some of our recent efforts to characterize the transcriptome of the developing human brain. I will also introduce the audience to the BrainSpan project (, a rich new open access data resource focused on anatomical, transcriptional and epigenetic analyses of the developing human brain. These data are already being used in a variety of ways. I will demonstrate how they can be used to study the molecular instructions for human brain development, and how there are conserved and divergent features between model organisms and humans that may help explain unique features of human brain structure and function. In addition, they provide a spatiotemporal map of transcript distribution that can be used to complement genetic studies of diseases, providing potential regional and developmental patterns of action for disease-associated genes.