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Curr Top Dev Biol. 2016;117:31-64. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2015.10.010. Epub 2016 Jan 23.

Development of the Mammalian Kidney.

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Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA. Electronic address:


The basic unit of kidney function is the nephron. In the mouse, around 14,000 nephrons form in a 10-day period extending into early neonatal life, while the human fetus forms the adult complement of nephrons in a 32-week period completed prior to birth. This review discusses our current understanding of mammalian nephrogenesis: the contributing cell types and the regulatory processes at play. A conceptual developmental framework has emerged for the mouse kidney. This framework is now guiding studies of human kidney development enabled in part by in vitro systems of pluripotent stem cell-seeded nephrogenesis. A near future goal will be to translate our developmental knowledge-base to the productive engineering of new kidney structures for regenerative medicine.


Cell signaling; Development; Disease; Injury; Kidney; Nephron; Patterning; Progenitor cell; Stem cell; Transcription

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