About this Research Topic
Motor functions that are essential for survival, such as feeding, breathing, escape, locomotion, and others, are produced by networks of neurons embedded in the brainstem and the spinal cord. In addition to the generation of volitional and reflexive movements, these networks also engage in the coordination of motor and autonomic responses.
In vertebrates, the requirements for control of movement vary with emergence of new body appendages or specializations (e.g., jaw, wing/fin/limb, thumb), as species adapt to their mode of living in aquatic, aerial or terrestrial environments. With the need for more advanced movements, additional networks with more complex inter- and intra-circuits connectivity and regulations arise. A typical example is the considerable development of the motor cortex and corticospinal tract that has allowed control of fractionated movement of fingers for unmatched dexterity in primates.
This Research Topic is devoted to the exploration of subcortical and spinal motor circuits producing essential motor functions, to provide a global understanding of how these motor functions integrate into neural building blocks across vertebrates. The Topic crosses the fields of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, molecular and computational neuroscience. We welcome submissions of mini reviews that offer perspectives on recent progress and directions for future research and original articles utilizing innovative technologies or experimental paradigms. Subjects include but are not limited to:
• Variability in motor network structure and use within and across species.
• Development of motor networks.
• Connectivity within and between motor networks.
• Initiation and regulation of activity in motor networks.
• Variability of motor patterns across behavioral contexts.
• Reorganization of motor networks by neuromodulators and/or peripheral sensory afferents.
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