The mechanisms that establish and maintain the multipotency of stem cells are poorly understood. In neural crest stem cells (NCSCs), the HMG-box factor SOX10 preserves not only glial, but surprisingly, also neuronal potential from extinction by lineage commitment signals. The latter function is reflected in the requirement of SOX10 in vivo for induction of MASH1 and PHOX2B, two neurogenic transcription factors. Simultaneously, SOX10 inhibits or delays overt neuronal differentiation, both in vitro and in vivo. However, this activity requires a higher Sox10 gene dosage than does the maintenance of neurogenic potential. The opponent functions of SOX10 to maintain neural lineage potentials, while simultaneously serving to inhibit or delay neuronal differentiation, suggest that it functions in stem or progenitor cell maintenance, in addition to its established role in peripheral gliogenesis.