About this Research Topic
We think that the comparative neuroanatomic field would receive with considerable interest a debate about the homology criteria that can be applied to comparative anatomical research in general. For greatest usefulness, examples given can be centered on the hot topic of the evolution of the vertebrate pallium, which contains the important, even if controversial, issue of the evolutionary origin of the mammalian isocortex.
This Research Topic presently is very much active, due to the recent use of classic formanalytic and developmental (genetic) criteria in opposition to a less conventional hodological criterium and the concept of cell population homology. Moreover, various novel molecular approaches have entered the field without eliciting consensus so far about how they should integrate with classical approaches. Possibly some authors think controversially that mere similarity equals homology. Accordingly, we find unresolved discrepancies about the relative value of the existing homology criteria in the interpretation of recent results relevant to pallium evolution. An equilibrated debate on this technical problem may be very useful at this point.
The approach for this debate implies three steps: 1) We will write an introductory review, that presents our understanding of the opposed viewpoints and difficulties in the field, including a clear statement of our own preferences and our criticisms on other viewpoints. This introductory text will be peer-reviewed and eventually accepted officially. 2) All participants get to see a preprint of it, and are asked to provide their respective texts, which ideally should refer to the postulates and problems underlined in the review, as well as to others we might have left aside, while presenting and defending their own preferences. These texts then will be subjected individually to peer review and published. 3) To conclude the Topic, we will publish a conclusive editorial resumé of the experience, with referral to each published paper, pointing out any apparent open questions.
We believe that this approach would clarify for the general readership the present level of consensus versus controversy affecting this field of research and its methods, and likewise inform workers in the field about possible pitfalls of the methods being employed.
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