Understanding brain circuits begins with an appreciation of their component parts-the cells. Although GABAergic interneurons are a minority population within the brain, they are crucial for the control of inhibition. Determining the diversity of these interneurons has been a central goal of neurobiologists, but this amazing cell type has so far defied a generalized classification system. Interneuron complexity within the telencephalon could be simplified by viewing them as elaborations of a much more finite group of developmentally specified cardinal classes that become further specialized as they mature. Our perspective emphasizes that the ultimate goal is to dispense with classification criteria and directly define interneuron types by function.
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