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Int J Dev Biol. 1990 Mar;34(1):157-62.

The avian neural crest as a model system for the study of cell lineages.

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Institut d'Embryologie Cellulaire et Mol├ęculaire du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Coll├Ęge de France, Nogent-sur-Marne.


Under the influence of environmental factors, the neural crest gives rise to numerous cell types and is therefore, by definition, a pluripotential structure. However, it was not clear until recently to what extent each individual neural crest cell possessed multiple capacities for differentiation. As a result of in vivo and in vitro approaches aimed at solving this problem, it has become apparent that the neural crest is made up of cells in different states of determination and that some lineages are segregated very early. In particular, analysis of clones obtained from single cells grown in culture has shown that, although many individual neural crest cells are pluripotential to varying degrees, others are apparently committed to give rise to only one derivative. The role of the embryonic microenvironment in the emergence of phenotypic diversity is probably complex, certain factors acting to promote the survival of selected subpopulations of fully determined progenitors, while others may direct partly committed precursors towards a specific developmental fate.

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