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Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2010;96:1-34. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-381280-3.00001-4.

Formation of the murine endoderm: lessons from the mouse, frog, fish, and chick.

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Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.


The mammalian definitive endoderm arises as a simple epithelial sheet. This sheet of cells will eventually produce the innermost tube that comprises the entire digestive tract from the esophagus to the colon as well as the epithelial component of the digestive and respiratory organs including the thymus, thyroid, lung, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Thus a wide array of tissue types are derived from the early endodermal sheet, and understanding the morphological and molecular mechanisms used to produce this tissue is integral to understanding the development of all these organs. The goal of this chapter is to summarize what is known about the morphological and molecular mechanisms used to produce this embryonic germ layer. Although this chapter mainly focuses on the mechanisms used to generate the murine endoderm, supportive or suggestive data from other species, including chick, frog (Xenopus laevis), and the Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are also examined.

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