The Basic Vertebrate Plan

Larry W. Swanson

in Brain Architecture

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195378580
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965120 | DOI:
The Basic Vertebrate Plan

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Vertebrates have a basic body plan (bauplan) that includes a notochord, a central nervous system dorsal to the notochord, and a digestive system with a series of pharyngeal arches for respiration and feeding ventral to the notochord. The best way to understand the basic divisions of the vertebrate nervous system is to follow their development in the embryo. The nervous system develops from the ectodermal (outer) layer, where a central, spoon-shaped region called the neural plate eventually invaginates to form a neural tube between the ectodermal and endodermal layers. The walls of this tube then differentially grow along its length to form a spinal cord caudally and a brain rostrally, with three and then five swellings or brain vesicles forming next. The three primary brain vesicles are called forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain, whereas the five secondary vesicles go on to form the endbrain, interbrain, midbrain, hindbrain, and afterbrain (medulla). The neural tube forms the central nervous system while a transitional strip of ectoderm, the neural crest, also invaginates and goes on to form the neurons of the peripheral nervous system, along with a few patches of somatic ectoderm called placodes.

Chapter.  7617 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development of the Nervous System

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