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In vertebrates, neural crest cells (NCCs) are a multipotent embryonic population generating both neural/neuronal and mesenchymal derivatives, and thus the neural crest (NC) is often referred to as the fourth germ layer. NC development is a dynamic process, where NCCs possess substantial plasticity in transcriptional and epigenomic profiles. Recent technical advances in single-cell and low-input sequencing have empowered fine-resolution characterisation of NC development. In this review, we summarise the latest models underlying NC-plasticity acquirement and cell-fate restriction, outline the connections between NC plasticity and NC-derived cancer and envision the new opportunities in studying NC plasticity and its link to cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Genet Dev

Publication Date





Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cell Plasticity, Humans, Neoplasms, Neural Crest, Neurogenesis