Segmentation, the subdivision of the body into morphologically similar units along its axis, is a fundamental mechanism used to establish embryonic organization and form. The segmental nature of vertebrate development is evident in the formation and organization of the hindbrain, the branchial arches, mesoderm and peripheral nervous system. Here we review somitogenesis, the formation and subsequent differentiation of the segmental units of the mesoderm, in zebrafish and relate it to similar processes in higher vertebrates. For recent reviews of somitogenesis in amniotes and discussion of general mechanisms of somite formation, see also Gossler and Hrabe de Angelis (1998), Pourquie (2000) and Rawls et al. (2000).
KeywordsNotch Signaling Mutant Embryo Zebra Fish Paraxial Mesoderm Presomitic Mesoderm
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