Vertebrates possess lineage-specific characteristics. These include paired anterior sense organs and a robust, modular head skeleton built of cellular cartilage and bone. All of these structures are derived, at least partly, from an embryonic tissue unique vertebrates – the neural crest. The evolutionary history of the neural crest, and neural crest cells, has been difficult to reconstruct. This volume will use a comparative approach to survey the development of the neural crest in vertebrates, and neural crest-like cells, across the metazoa. This information will be used to reveal neural crest evolution and identify the genomic, genetic, and gene-regulatory changes that drove them.
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