Mathematical models of the gene regulatory networks underlying mesendoderm formation in amphibians
Brown, Laura E. (2012) Mathematical models of the gene regulatory networks underlying mesendoderm formation in amphibians. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
An early event in embryo development is the formation of mesoderm, endoderm and ectoderm, known as the primary germ layers. The gene regulatory network (GRN) consisting of the regulatory mechanisms underlying the formation of mesoderm and endoderm (the mesendoderm GRN) has been extensively studied both experimentally and using mathematical models. The Xenopus GRN is complex, with much of this complexity due to large numbers of Mix and Nodal genes. Mice and humans have only single Mix and Nodal genes, meaning that the Xenopus GRN is overly complex compared with higher vertebrates. Urodele amphibians, for example the axolotl, have single Mix and Nodal genes required for mesoderm and endoderm formation giving a model organism for the study of a simplified mesendoderm GRN.
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