Functional maps are observed in various areas in the brain ofmany species and are considered as key features that revealthe working mechanism of neural circuits. One particularexample is the orientation preference map in the primaryvisual cortex (V1) in higher mammals, in which neuronsrespond selectively to the orientations of spatial componentsin visual stimuli. This cortical map has been studiedextensively for years because it is thought important tounderstand how sensory information is encoded and decodedin the cortical neural network. An important question raisedis how this map structure is created during early development,which has not been clearly answered for the past decades.
Here I introduce the latest model views on this issue todiscuss the developmental mechanism of the orientationpreference maps, and more generally, how the developmentof the functional structure in the nervous system can beunderstood in mathematical model.