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Development. 1998 Nov;125(21):4205-13.

Avian neural crest-derived neurogenic precursors undergo apoptosis on the lateral migration pathway.

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Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene OR97403-1254, USA.


Neural crest cells of vertebrate embryos disperse on distinct pathways and produce different derivatives in specific embryonic locations. In the trunk of avian embryos, crest-derived cells that initially migrate on the lateral pathway, between epidermal ectoderm and somite, produce melanocytes but no neuronal derivatives. Although we found that melanocyte precursors are specified before they disperse on the lateral pathway, we also observed that a few crest-derived neuronal cells are briefly present on the same pathway. Here, we show that neuronal cells are removed by an episode of apoptosis. These observations suggest that localized environmental factor(s) affect the distribution of fate-restricted crest derivatives and function as a 'proof-reading mechanism' to remove 'ectopic' crest-derived cells.

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