Mueller, T., Vernier, P., and Wullimann, M.F. (2006) A phylotypic stage in vertebrate brain development: GABA cell patterns in zebrafish compared with mouse. The Journal of comparative neurology. 494(4):620-634.
A recent comparison of early forebrain gene expression in mouse and zebrafish revealed highly comparable expression patterns of developmentally relevant genes, for example, of proneural (Neurogenin1, NeuroD, Mash1/Zash1a) genes involved in neurogenesis at a particular time window (mouse: embryonic day 12.5/13.5; zebrafish: 3 days). Here we extend this analysis to the description of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) cell patterns in the early postembryonic zebrafish brain (i.e., during early secondary neurogenesis). We find again an astonishing degree of correspondences of GABA cell patterns between zebrafish and mouse during this previously established critical time window, for example, regarding absence of GABA cells in certain forebrain regions (pallium, dorsal thalamus, eminentia thalami) or with respect to the spatiotemporal occurrence of GABA cells (e.g., late cerebellar GABA cells). Furthermore, there is perfect correlation with previously established proneural gene expression patterns (i.e., absence of Mash1/Zash1a gene expression in GABA-cell-free forebrain regions) between mouse and zebrafish. The available information in additional vertebrate species, especially in Xenopus, is also highly consistent with our analysis here and suggests that a "phylotypic stage" of neurogenesis during vertebrate brain development may be present.