Evolution and scaling of dendrites

Gayle M. Wittenberg, Samuel S.H. Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Dendrites, the neuronal processes that receive synaptic inputs, are found in all nervous systems. The great diversity of dendrites, both within individual species and across phylogeny, reflects their adaptation to particular functional roles. This chapter uses this diversity to consider dendrites from an evolutionary perspective. It first describes some principles seen in the diversity of dendritic forms. It then seeks to explain this diversity in terms of tradeoffs among functional optimization constraints; mechanistic limits set by the available molecular toolkit; and developmental mechanisms, the targets upon which selection has acted. Finally, based on these perspectives, it identifies areas ripe for future investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDendrites
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191724206
ISBN (Print)9780198566564
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


  • Dendrites
  • Evolution
  • Nervous system
  • Neuronal processes
  • Phylogeny
  • Synaptic inputs


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