Trial and error: The brain learns from mistakes

In the developing brain, countless nerve connections are made which turn out to be inappropriate and as a result must eventually be removed. The process of establishing a neuronal network does not always prove precise or error free. Dr. Peter Scheiffele's research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have been able to document this phenomenon using advanced microscopy techniques in the developing cerebellum, a brain area required for fine movement control. Dr. Scheiffele's group has discovered that a protein traditionally associated with bone development is responsible for correcting errors while neurons connect to their correct partners in the cerebellum. Their results will be published next week in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology.
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