In vertebrates, the notochord arises from the dorsal organiser. Originally identified by Spemann and Mangold in amphibians, the dorsal organiser is a region of a vertebrate gastrulae that, when transplanted into prospective lateral or ventral regions of a host embryo, induces the formation of a second embryonic axis, while only contributing to notochord and prechordal mesendoderm (Harland and Gerhart,1997; Spemann and Mangold,1924). In amphibians, this region is the dorsal lip of the blastopore. In other species, homologous structures have been found: the embryonic shield of teleost fish, Hensen’s node in the chick and the node of mouse embryos all possess essentially the same activities as Spemann and Mangold’s dorsal organiser (Beddington,1994; Oppenheimer,1936; Waddington,1930). The functions and activities of the dorsal organiser are complex and have been discussed in detail elsewhere(Harland and Gerhart, 1997).

In vertebrates, the notochord arises from the dorsal organiser. Originally identified by Spemann and Mangold in amphibians, the dorsal organiser is a region of a vertebrate gastrulae that, when transplanted into prospective lateral or ventral regions of a host embryo, induces the formation of a second embryonic axis, while only contributing to notochord and prechordal mesendoderm (Harland and Gerhart,1997Spemann and Mangold,1924). In amphibians, this region is the dorsal lip of the blastopore. In other species, homologous structures have been found: the embryonic shield of teleost fish, Hensen’s node in the chick and the node of mouse embryos all possess essentially the same activities as Spemann and Mangold’s dorsal organiser (Beddington,1994Oppenheimer,1936Waddington,1930). The functions and activities of the dorsal organiser are complex and have been discussed in detail elsewhere(Harland and Gerhart, 1997).

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