Origin of the Nervous System

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin, Science published a short, yet comprehensive commentary on the origin of the nervous system. In brief, simple communications amongst cells via electrical channels  sparked a “descent with modification” in which over time, the communications become more complex, comprised of both input (dendritic) and output (synaptic) pathways, and broader (diffuse modulatory systems). Ideal animal models for studying the origin of the nervous system include Ctenophora (comb jellies pictured below), Cnidaria (jellyfish and sea anemone) and Porifera (sponges).

Comb Jelly

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3 Responses

  1. I wish Cnidarians had evolved more sophisticated nervous systems that allowed them to stop stinging me once they realized I wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt them while swimming at the beach last month.

  2. Even with more sophisticated nervous systems that may still be the case; I wish my mouse would have stopped biting me today once he realized I was not intentionally trying to hurt him…just get him into the rat turn.

  3. […] articles on the origin of several physiological processes. I have posted one previously on the origin of the nervous system. This one focuses on the origin of the immune system. It received mixed reviews from the science […]

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