Neurons develop through delicate and carefully choreographed processes that take place while an embryo grows. Signaling molecules “turn on” certain genes and “turn off ” others, initiating the formation of immature nerve cells. During the next stage — cell division also called proliferation — the pool of early-stage brain cells increases by billions. Finally, during migration, these newly formed neurons travel to their final destinations. The nervous system formed by these processes is active throughout life, making new connections and fine-tuning the way messages are sent and received. In this chapter, you will learn about the amazing early development of your ever-changing nervous system.
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