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Cardiovasc Res. 2012 Dec 1;96(3):352-62. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvs270. Epub 2012 Aug 14.

Early cardiac development: a view from stem cells to embryos.

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Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, UCSD, CA, USA.


From the 1920s, early cardiac development has been studied in chick and, later, in mouse embryos in order to understand the first cell fate decisions that drive specification and determination of the endocardium, myocardium, and epicardium. More recently, mouse and human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have demonstrated faithful recapitulation of early cardiogenesis and have contributed significantly to this research over the past few decades. Derived almost 15 years ago, human ESCs have provided a unique developmental model for understanding the genetic and epigenetic regulation of early human cardiogenesis. Here, we review the biological concepts underlying cell fate decisions during early cardiogenesis in model organisms and ESCs. We draw upon both pioneering and recent studies and highlight the continued role for in vitro stem cells in cardiac developmental biology.

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