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Dev Biol. 2002 Nov 1;251(1):118-28.

Apoptosis of premigratory neural crest cells in rhombomeres 3 and 5: consequences for patterning of the branchial region.

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MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, 4th Floor New Hunts House, King's College London, Guy's Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


In the avian hindbrain, premigratory neural crest cells undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis) in rhombomeres 3 and 5 (r3, r5). Here, we have attempted to analyze the significance of the loss of neural crest cells from these odd-numbered rhombomeres. When apoptosis is prevented in r3 and r5, r3 crest migrate into the first arch and r5 into the third arch. Interestingly, these extra neural crest cells contributed to the formation of ectopic muscle attachment sites that are also found in those species in which r3 and r5 neural crest cells do not undergo apoptosis. Thus, apoptosis in the odd-numbered rhombomeres appears to be an evolutionarily derived mechanism that is required to eliminate r3 and r5 crest migration into first and third arches and thereby remove these muscle attachment sites.

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