Comparative analysis of squamate brains unveils multi-level variation in cerebellar architecture associated with locomotor specialization.
IF: 17.694
Cited by: 30


Ecomorphological studies evaluating the impact of environmental and biological factors on the brain have so far focused on morphology or size measurements, and the ecological relevance of potential multi-level variations in brain architecture remains unclear in vertebrates. Here, we exploit the extraordinary ecomorphological diversity of squamates to assess brain phenotypic diversification with respect to locomotor specialization, by integrating single-cell distribution and transcriptomic data along with geometric morphometric, phylogenetic, and volumetric analysis of high-definition 3D models. We reveal significant changes in cerebellar shape and size as well as alternative spatial layouts of cortical neurons and dynamic gene expression that all correlate with locomotor behaviours. These findings show that locomotor mode is a strong predictor of cerebellar structure and pattern, suggesting that major behavioural transitions in squamates are evolutionarily correlated with mosaic brain changes. Furthermore, our study amplifies the concept of 'cerebrotype', initially proposed for vertebrate brain proportions, towards additional shape characters.


Spatial Gene Expression

MeSH terms

Biological Evolution
Cerebellar Cortex
Gene Expression Profiling
Purkinje Cells


Macrì, Simone
Savriama, Yoland
Khan, Imran
Di-Poï, Nicolas

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