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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2001 Dec;13(6):698-705.

Hox genes, neural crest cells and branchial arch patterning.

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  • 1Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 1000 East 50th Street, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.


Proper craniofacial development requires the orchestrated integration of multiple specialized tissue interactions. Recent analyses suggest that craniofacial development is not dependent upon neural crest pre-programming as previously thought but is regulated by a more complex integration of cell and tissue interactions. In the absence of neural crest cells it is still possible to obtain normal arch patterning indicating that neural crest is not responsible for patterning all of arch development. The mesoderm, endoderm and surface ectoderm tissues play a role in the patterning of the branchial arches, and there is now strong evidence that Hoxa2 acts as a selector gene for the pathways that govern second arch structures.

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