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Dev Cell. 2004 Sep;7(3):291-9.

Gene-regulatory interactions in neural crest evolution and development.

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  • 1California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena 91125, USA.
  • 2CA Inst Technol, Pasadena


In this review, we outline the gene-regulatory interactions driving neural crest development and compare these to a hypothetical network operating in the embryonic ectoderm of the cephalochordate amphioxus. While the early stages of ectodermal patterning appear conserved between amphioxus and vertebrates, later activation of neural crest-specific factors at the neural plate border appears to be a vertebrate novelty. This difference may reflect co-option of genetic pathways which conferred novel properties upon the evolving vertebrate neural plate border, potentiating the evolution of definitive neural crest.

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