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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2010 May;21(3):325-32. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2010.01.022. Epub 2010 Feb 8.

The pharyngeal pouches and clefts: Development, evolution, structure and derivatives.

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King's College London, Department of Craniofacial Development, Guy's Hospital, London Bridge, London SE1 9RT, UK.


The pharyngeal arches form the face and neck of the developing embryo. The pharyngeal tissue is divided into distinct arches by the formation of clefts and pouches in between the arches. These clefts and pouches form at the juxtaposition between the ectoderm and endoderm and develop into a variety of essential structures, such as the ear drum, and glands such as the thymus and parathyroids. How these pouches and clefts between the arches form and what structures they develop into is the subject of this review. Differences in pouch derivatives are described in different animals and the evolution of these structures are investigated. The implications of defects in pouch and cleft development on human health are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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