The role of cell lineage in the organization of the cerebral cortex and striatum of the developing rat forebrain was analysed using retroviral-mediated gene transfer to mark the progeny of individual progenitors. Injections around the onset of neurogenesis (embryonic day 14) produced neuronal- and glial-specific clones in the striatum and cortex. The majority of the neuronal clones were restricted to either the deep or superficial layers of the cortex and to either the striatal patch or matrix compartments of the striatum. Moreover, modeling the distributions of the neuronal clones in various ways revealed that grouping the clones into deep vs superficial cortical compartments and patch vs matrix striatal compartments best accounted for the clone distributions. These results suggest that at the onset of neurogenesis there is a heterogeneity of neuronal progenitors within the proliferative ventricular zone.
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