A specialized region of ectoderm found between the neural ectoderm (neural plate) and non-neural ectoderm and composed of highly migratory pluripotent cells that delaminate in early embryonic development from the dorsal neural tube and give rise to an astounding variety of differentiated cell types[MP]. [ ]

Synonyms: NC

This is just here as a test because I lose it

Term information

database cross reference

uberon_slim, pheno_slim, vertebrate_core

NC [ XAO:0000048 ]


Gene notes: Many factors and genes, such as Pax3 (Tremblay et al., 1995), slug (Nieto et al., 1994), AP-2 (Zhang et al., 1996; Schorle et al., 1996), and Wnt-1/3a (Ikeya et al., 1997) are expressed in the dorsal most region of the neural tube, and have been shown to be involved in the generation of neural crest cells.

depicted by



dubious for taxon


editor note

consider including subclasses for pre- and post- migratory (e.g. sheets/paths/streams).

external definition

Migratory cell population which delaminates from neural tube, borders surface ectoderm and neural ectoderm, and gives rise to many different tissue types.[AAO]

A cell population arising from the dorsolateral aspect of the central nervous system primordium during the segmentation period, and later migrating along stereotyped pathways to give rise to a diverse and well-defined set of cell types including pigment cells, peripheral neurons and glia, and head cartilage. Kimmel et al, 1995.[TAO]

has related synonym

neural crest material

crista neuralis

homology notes

We conclude that the neural crest is a vertebrate novelty, but that neural crest cells and their derivatives evolved and diversified in a step-wise fashion - first by elaboration of neural plate border cells, then by the innovation or co-option of new or ancient metazoan cell fates.[well established][VHOG]

A well developed neural crest population is present in lampreys (Horigome et al. 1999 ; Tomsa & Langeland, 1999) and gnathostomes. chordate fossils from the early Cambrian (Yunnanozoan and Haikouella) with apparent neural-crest derived structures (pharyngeal denticles and pharyngeal skeletons resembling the striped mucocartilage of the branchial bars in lamprey ammocoete larvae), suggests that neural crest arose very early in vertebrate evolution (Chen et al. 1999; Holland & Chen, 2001). The invertebrate chordates apparently lack defini- tive neural crest. One marker of migrating neural crest in some vertebrates, the antibody HNK1, does not recognize any cells in amphioxus embryos (Holland, unpublished). Even so, in both amphioxus and tunicates, cells at the edges of the neural plate and adjacent nonneural ectoderm share some properties of neural crest[PMID:11523831]