The neural crest (NC) is a stem cell-like embryonic population that is essential for generating and patterning the vertebrate body, including the craniofacial skeleton and peripheral nervous system. Defects in NC development underlie many birth defects and contribute to formation of some of the most malignant cancers in humans, such as melanoma and neuroblastoma. For these reasons, significant research efforts have been expended to identify genes that control NC development, as it is expected to lead to a deeper understanding of the genetic mechanisms controlling vertebrate development and identify new treatments for NC-derived diseases and cancers. However, a number of inconsistencies regarding gene function during NC development have emerged from comparative analyses of gene function between mammalian and non-mammalian systems (chick, frog, zebrafish). This poses a significant barrier to identification of single genes and/or redundant pathways to target in NC diseases. Here, we determine whether technical differences, namely morpholino-based approaches used in non-mammalian systems, could contribute to these discrepancies, by examining the extent to which NC phenotypes in fascin1a (fscn1a) morphant embryos are similar to or different from fscn1a null mutants in zebrafish. Analysis of fscn1a morphants showed that they mimicked early NC phenotypes observed in fscn1a null mutants; however, these embryos also displayed NC migration and derivative phenotypes not observed in null mutants, including accumulation of p53-independent cell death. These data demonstrate that morpholinos can cause seemingly specific NC migration and derivative phenotypes, and thus have likely contributed to the inconsistencies surrounding NC gene function between species. We suggest that comparison of genetic mutants between different species is the most rigorous method for identifying conserved genetic mechanisms controlling NC development and is critical to identify new treatments for NC diseases.