Analysis of the origins and early fates of neural crest cells in caudal regions of avian embryos

Gary C. Schoenwolf, Nancy B. Chandler, Jodi L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Holmdahl divided vertebrate embryogenesis into two phases called primary and secondary body development. Three primary germ layers are delineated during primary body development and undergo morphogenesis to form primary organ rudiments. In contrast, during secondary body development, the tail bud (a mesenchymal mass of cells located at the caudal end of the embryo and derived principally from Hensen's node) directly forms secondary organ rudiments. We have been testing Holmdahl's concept of primary and secondary body development by mapping the embryonic structures that originate from the tail bud. In the present study, we examined the origins of neural crest cells in caudal regions of avian embryos and observed two populations: primary neural crest cells derived from ectoderm and secondary neural crest cells derived from tail bud. Both types of neural crest cells originate locally, and little or no displacement of these cells occurs along the longitudinal axis. Some secondary neural crest cells seem to colonize the surface epithelium, forming a mosaic derived from both ectoderm and tail bud. Other secondary neural crest cells form spinal ganglia, differentiating as sensory neurons, satellite cells, and Schwann cells. Despite their strikingly different origins and locations, primary and secondary neural crest cells give rise to similar structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-479
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1985


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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