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Curr Top Dev Biol. 1999;43:85-113.

Development of neural crest in Xenopus.

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Laboratorio de BiologĂ­a del Desarrollo, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


The neural crest is a unique cell population among embryonic cell types, displaying properties of both ectodermal and mesodermal lineages. Most of the recent studies examining the neural crest have been performed in avian embryos. Only in the first half of this century were amphibians extensively used. We first summarize this important older source of information, reviewing studies made since the turn of the century. Due to the increasingly detailed in cellular and molecular knowledge of the early development of Xenopus laevis, the remainder of the review focuses on this species. We describe the route of migration and fate of the neural crest and propose a new model of neural crest induction in which prospective cells are induced independently of the neural plate by a double gradient of a morphogen that patterns the entire ectoderm. This model is also discussed in a more general context in connection with the dorsoventral patterning of the neural tube. Finally, we discuss some ideas concerning neural crest evolution and propose a novel hypothesis about its phylogenetic origin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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