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Heart formation provides an excellent model for studying the molecular basis of cell determination in vertebrate embryos. By combining molecular assays with the experimental approaches of classic embryology, a model for the cell signalling events that initiate cardiogenesis is emerging. Studies of chick, amphibian, and fish embryos demonstrate the inductive role of dorso-anterior endoderm in specifying the cardiac fate of adjacent mesoderm. A consequence of this signalling is the onset of cardiomyogenesis and several transcription factors--Nkx2-5-related, HAND, GATA and MEF-2 families--contribute to these events.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Curr Opin Genet Dev

Publication Date

10/1997

Volume

7

Pages

628 - 633

Keywords

Amphibians, Animals, Body Patterning, Cell Differentiation, Chickens, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Embryonic Induction, Endoderm, Fishes, Heart, Mesoderm, Myocardium, Signal Transduction, Transcription Factors, Vertebrates