The emergence of new and increasingly sophisticated behaviors after birth is accompanied by dramatic increase of newly established synaptic connections in the nervous system. Little is known, however, of how nascent connections are organized to support such new behaviors alongside existing ones. To understand this, in the larval zebrafish we examined the development of spinal pathways from hindbrain V2a neurons and the role of these pathways in the development of locomotion. We found that new projections are continually layered laterally to existing neuropil, and give rise to distinct pathways that function in parallel to existing pathways. Across these chronologically layered pathways, the connectivity patterns and biophysical properties vary systematically to support a behavioral repertoire with a wide range of kinematics and dynamics. Such layering of new parallel circuits equipped with systematically changing properties may be central to the postnatal diversification and increasing sophistication of an animal's behavioral repertoire.
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