Adult neurogenesis research has made enormous strides in the last decade but has been complicated by several failures to replicate promising findings. Prevalent use of highly sensitive methods with inherent sources of error has led to extraordinary conclusions without adequate crossvalidation. Perhaps the biggest culprit is the reliance on molecules involved in DNA synthesis and genetic markers to indicate neuronal neogenesis. In this Protocol Review, we present an overview of common methodological issues in the field and suggest alternative approaches, including viral vectors, siRNA, and inducible transgenic/knockout mice. A multipronged approach will enhance the overall rigor of research on stem cell biology and related fields by allowing increased replication of findings between groups and across systems.

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Photo of Jeffrey D. Macklis

Jeffrey Macklis investigates molecular controls and mechanisms over neuron subtype specification, development, diversity, axon guidance-circuit formation, and pathology in the cerebral cortex. His lab seeks to apply developmental controls toward brain and spinal cord regeneration and directed differentiation for in vitro mechanistic modeling using human assembloids.

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