The cerebral cortex is the seat of higher brain function and plays a key role in memory, attention, thought, perception and language. Development of this cerebral structure is a complex process in which different steps need to be tightly regulated and coordinated in order to obtain a mature, six-layered structure. Progenitors at the ventricular zone generate specific types of neurons at the appropriate time and in correct numbers. These neurons then migrate into the nascent cortical plate while simultaneously extending their axons and, once they arrive at their final position in the right layer, they start to elaborate the dendritic arbor and establish synaptic contacts with specific targets. Defects in cortical development have long been associated with disorders displaying anatomical abnormalities, like microcephaly, lissencephaly or periventricular heterotopia. In addition, development of the cerebral cortex is also disrupted in other neurological conditions that do not manifest with obvious anatomical changes, such as ASD, schizophrenia or cognitive impairment.
Cortical development is therefore an area of very active research, which has progressed rapidly in recent times. This collection aims to include standard and novel methods in the study of corticogenesis, with a focus on approaches to target or label progenitors and neurons for lineage tracing and functional studies of neurogenesis, fate specification and neuronal migration.