Evolution of vertebrates as viewed from the crest

Nature. 2015 Apr 23;520(7548):474-482. doi: 10.1038/nature14436.


The origin of vertebrates was accompanied by the advent of a novel cell type: the neural crest. Emerging from the central nervous system, these cells migrate to diverse locations and differentiate into numerous derivatives. By coupling morphological and gene regulatory information from vertebrates and other chordates, we describe how addition of the neural-crest-specification program may have enabled cells at the neural plate border to acquire multipotency and migratory ability. Analysis of the topology of the neural crest gene regulatory network can serve as a useful template for understanding vertebrate evolution, including elaboration of neural crest derivatives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chordata, Nonvertebrate / cytology
  • Chordata, Nonvertebrate / embryology
  • Gene Duplication / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Neural Crest / cytology
  • Neural Crest / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Vertebrates / anatomy & histology
  • Vertebrates / embryology*
  • Vertebrates / genetics