The neural crest is a multipotent tissue that originates between the neural epithelium and non-neural ectoderm, which can develop into numerous cell types, including neurons, glia, pigment cells, smooth muscle, cartilage and bone. Work in a variety of animal models has shown that a number of signalling factors are necessary for the induction, delamination and differentiation of neural crest cells. However one family of proteins, the Wnts, shows an overriding influence on this tissue. Here we review recent studies that pinpoint specific roles that Wnts play in the development of the neural crest.
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