2017 Volume 93 Issue 5 Pages 259-269
The brains of higher mammals such as primates and carnivores contain well-developed unique brain structures. Uncovering the physiological functions, developmental mechanisms and evolution of these brain structures would greatly facilitate our understanding of the human brain and its diseases. Although the anatomical and electrophysiological features of these brain structures have been intensively investigated, our knowledge about their molecular bases is still limited. To overcome this limitation, genetic techniques for the brains of carnivores and primates have been established, and molecules whose expression patterns correspond to these brain structures were identified recently. To investigate the functional roles of these molecules, rapid and efficient genetic manipulation methods for higher mammals have been explored. In this review, recent advances in molecular investigations of the brains of higher mammals are discussed, mainly focusing on ferrets (Mustela putorius furo).