New neuron type discovered only in primate brains

Krienen et al. used single-nucleus RNA sequencing to profile RNA expression in 188,776 individual interneurons across homologous brain regions from three primates (human, macaque and marmoset), a rodent (mouse) and a weasel (ferret). They found that an interneuron type that was previously associated with the mouse hippocampus—the ‘ivy cell’, which has neurogliaform characteristics—has become abundant across the neocortex of humans, macaques and marmosets but not mice or ferrets. They also found a notable subcortical innovation: an abundant striatal interneuron type in primates that had no molecularly homologous counterpart in mice or ferrets. These interneurons expressed a unique combination of genes that encode transcription factors, receptors and neuropeptides and constituted around 30% of striatal interneurons in marmosets and humans. This work was covered by the Broad Institute news.