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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2006;22:267-86.

Neural crest stem and progenitor cells.

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


Neural crest cells are a multipotent, migratory cell population that generates an astonishingly diverse array of cell types during vertebrate development. These include bones; tendons; neurons; glia; melanocytes; and connective, endocrine, and adipose tissue. With a limited capacity for self-renewal and a wide range of differentiation fates, neural crest cells bear many of the hallmarks of stem cells and persist throughout embryonic and adult development. But are all neural crest cells true stem cells, or do the majority of neural crest cells more closely resemble progenitor cells? In this review we discuss recent advances in characterizing the properties of neural crest cells, together with their potential for tissue-specific repair.

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