Day 120 (5q31.2-5q32): the protocadherins, a barcode for neurons


Day 120 has 133 protein-coding genes (browser view). 55 of these genes are clustered protocadherin genes.

As your brain is growing, neurons branch and form connections with neurons nearby. As they’re doing this, they need to know not to connect to themselves, which would form a tangled mess. The protocadherins let them practice self-avoidance. Like a barcode, each neuron randomly expresses a combination of these protocadherins, and knows not to connect when it sees that same barcode.

Click here to see all 8644679 letters of Day 120 with protocadherin 1 (PCDH1) underlined.


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