• neural crest;
  • Pax3;
  • Pax7;
  • Islet1;
  • melanocyte precursors;
  • melanocyte markers;
  • birds;
  • mammals


Neural crest cells are considered a key vertebrate feature that is studied intensively because of their relevance to development and evolution. Here we report the expression of Pax7 in the dorsal non-neural ectoderm and in the trunk neural crest of the early chick embryo. Pax7 is expressed in the trunk neural crest migrating along the ventral and dorsolateral routes. Pax7 is first downregulated in the neural crest-derived neuronal precursors, secondly in the glial, and finally in the melanocyte precursors. Conserved developmental expression in the melanocyte lineage of both Pax3 and Pax7 was evidenced in chick and quail, but only Pax3 in mouse and rat.