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Brain Res Rev. 2007 Oct;55(2):237-47. Epub 2007 Aug 7.

Role of the neural crest in face and brain development.

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  • 1Institut de Neurobiologie-Alfred Fessard, Laboratoire de Développement, Evolution et Plasticité du Système Nerveux, Avenue de la Terrasse, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


Since the time of Ramon y Cajal, very significant progress has been accomplished in our knowledge of the fate of the early neural primordium. The origin of the peripheral nervous system from the transient and pluripotent embryonic structure, the neural crest has been fully deciphered using appropriate cell marking techniques. Most of the pioneer work in this field was carried out in lower vertebrates up to 1950 and later on in the avian embryo. New techniques which allow the genetic labelling of embryonic cells by transgenesis are now applied in mammals and fish. One of the highlights of neural crest studies was its paramount role in head and face morphogenesis. Work pursued in our laboratory for the last fifteen years or so has analysed at both cellular and molecular levels the contribution of the NCCs to the construction of the facial and cranial structures. Recently, we have found that the cephalic neural crest plays also a key role in the formation of the fore- and mid-brain.

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