Adult neural stem cells in the mouse brain are less plastic than previously thought, according to a study published online this week in Science. The authors found that a stem cell's position in the brain determines the type of neuron it generates. As a result, it may be more difficult to coax adult neural stem cells into becoming various types of neurons than some researchers have predicted, according to senior author Arturo Alvarez-Buylla of the University of California, San Francisco."The whole idea of flexibility among adult neural stem cells has to be, I think, reconsidered," Alvarez-Buylla told The Scientist. Instead, there appears to be a "mosaic of different types of primary progenitors giving rise to all of these different types of neurons," he said. Neural stem cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the mammalian brain generate neurons throughout the animal's life that migrate to the olfactory bulb...

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