From head to tail: regionalization of the neural crest

Development. 2020 Oct 26;147(20):dev193888. doi: 10.1242/dev.193888.


The neural crest is regionalized along the anteroposterior axis, as demonstrated by foundational lineage-tracing experiments that showed the restricted developmental potential of neural crest cells originating in the head. Here, we explore how recent studies of experimental embryology, genetic circuits and stem cell differentiation have shaped our understanding of the mechanisms that establish axial-specific populations of neural crest cells. Additionally, we evaluate how comparative, anatomical and genomic approaches have informed our current understanding of the evolution of the neural crest and its contribution to the vertebrate body.

Keywords: Ectomesenchyme; Gene regulatory networks; Neural crest; Patterning; Stem cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning* / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Head / embryology*
  • Neural Crest / cytology
  • Neural Crest / embryology*
  • Tail / embryology*