New origin theory for cells that gave rise to vertebrates
Zebras' vivid pigmentation and the fight or flight instinct. These and other features of the world's vertebrates stem from neural crest cells, but little is known about their origin. Scientists propose a new model for how neural crest cells, and thus vertebrates, arose more than 500 million years ago. They report that these cells retain the molecular underpinnings that control pluripotency -- the ability to give rise to all the cell types that make up the body.