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J Neurobiol. 1998 Aug;36(2):175-89.

Induction and patterning of the neural crest, a stem cell-like precursor population.

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Division of Biology, Beckman Institute 139-74, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91125, USA.


The neural crest is a multipotent precursor population which ultimately generates much of the peripheral nervous system, epidermal pigment cells, and a variety of mesectodermal derivatives. Individual multipotent neural crest cells are capable of some self-renewing divisions, and based upon this criteria can be considered stem cells. Considerable progress has been made in recent years toward understanding how this important population of progenitor cells is initially established in the early embryo, and how cell-intrinsic and non-cell-intrinsic factors mediate their subsequent lineage segregation and differentiation.

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