Development and evolution of the neural crest: an overview

Dev Biol. 2012 Jun 1;366(1):2-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.12.042. Epub 2012 Jan 2.


The neural crest is a multipotent and migratory cell type that forms transiently in the developing vertebrate embryo. These cells emerge from the central nervous system, migrate extensively and give rise to diverse cell lineages including melanocytes, craniofacial cartilage and bone, peripheral and enteric neurons and glia, and smooth muscle. A vertebrate innovation, the gene regulatory network underlying neural crest formation appears to be highly conserved, even to the base of vertebrates. Here, we present an overview of important concepts in the neural crest field dating from its discovery 150 years ago to open questions that will motivate future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Bone and Bones / cytology
  • Cartilage / cytology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Cell Movement
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Melanocytes / cytology
  • Neural Crest* / cytology
  • Neural Crest* / embryology
  • Neural Crest* / physiology
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Vertebrates