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Keywords:

  • cerebellum;
  • cochlear nucelus;
  • hindbrain;
  • precerebellar system;
  • subtype specification

In the nervous system, there are hundreds to thousands of neuronal cell types that have morphologically, physiologically, and histochemically different characteristics and this diversity may enable us to elicit higher brain function. A better understanding of the molecular machinery by which neuron subtype specification occurs is thus one of the most important issues in brain science. The dorsal hindbrain, including the cerebellum, is a good model system to study this issue because a variety of types of neurons are produced from this region. Recently developed genetic lineage-tracing methods in addition to gene-transfer technologies have clarified a fate map of neurons produced from the dorsal hindbrain and accelerated our understanding of the molecular machinery of neuronal subtype specification in the nervous system.