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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2007 Apr;18(2):225-36. Epub 2007 Jan 25.

Genetic basis of skin appendage development.

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  • 1Developmental Biology Program, Institute of Biotechnology, P.O. Box 56 (Viikinkaari 9), University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.


Morphogenesis of hair follicles, teeth, and mammary glands depends on inductive epithelial-mesenchymal interactions mediated by a conserved set of signalling molecules. The early development of different skin appendages is remarkably similar. Initiation of organogenesis is marked by the appearance of a local epithelial thickening, a placode, which subsequently invaginates to produce a bud. These early developmental stages require many of the same genes and signalling circuits and consequently alterations in them often cause similar phenotypes in several skin appendages. After the bud stage, these organs adopt diverse patterns of epithelial growth, reflected in the usage of more divergent genes in each.

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