In order to generate a functional nervous system, many complex events must take place in the right temporal and spatial sequences. For example, a large number of neuronal and glial cell types must be generated, neuronal processes must find their targets, and the appropriate cell specific molecules must be expressed. Developmental neuroscientists are interested in determining how such processes occur and the mechanisms by which they are regulated. Approaches used to study the development of the nervous system include molecular cloning and analysis of DNA and RNA; gene transfection of isolated cells; the generation of transgenic mice to analyze the effects of specific genes; immunocytochemistry and situ hybridization to localize proteins; RNA cell and organ culture to analyze the behavior of isolated neurons and glia; biochemical purification of molecules that are essential for development; and surgical manipulation of embryonic tissues in vivo.

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