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White matter includes all of the nerves, and much of the interior of the brain and spinal cord.
Grey matter is found in clusters of neurons in the brain and spinal cord, and in cortical layers that line their surfaces.
In vertebrate species it consists of two main parts, the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS consists mainly of nerves, which are enclosed bundles of the long fibers or axons, that connect the CNS to every other part of the body.
Nerves that transmit signals from the brain are called motor or efferent nerves, while those nerves that transmit information from the body to the CNS are called sensory or afferent.
The sensory information from these organs is processed by the brain.
In insects, many neurons have cell bodies that are positioned at the edge of the brain and are electrically passive—the cell bodies serve only to provide metabolic support and do not participate in signalling.
There is an anatomical convention that a cluster of neurons in the brain or spinal cord is called a nucleus, whereas a cluster of neurons in the periphery is called a ganglion.
The PNS is divided into a) somatic and b) autonomic nervous system, and c) the enteric nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is further subdivided into the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems.
The nervous system is the part of an animal's body that coordinates its actions and transmits signals to and from different parts of its body.
Nervous tissue first arose in wormlike organisms about 550 to 600 million years ago.
Grey matter (which is only grey in preserved tissue, and is better described as pink or light brown in living tissue) contains a high proportion of cell bodies of neurons.
White matter is composed mainly of myelinated axons, and takes its color from the myelin.