The chicken as a model organism to study heart development: Cold Spring Harbor Perspective in Biology

Johannes Wittig, Andrea Munsterberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


Heart development is a complex process and begins with the long-range migration of cardiac progenitor cells during gastrulation. This culminates in the formation of a simple contractile tube with multiple layers, which undergoes remodeling into a four-chambered heart. During this morphogenesis additional cell populations become incorporated. It is important to unravel the underlying genetic and cellular mechanisms to be able to identify the embryonic origin of diseases, including congenital malformations, which impair cardiac function and may affect life expectancy or quality. Owing to the evolutionary conservation of development, observations made in non-amniote and amniote vertebrate species allow us to extrapolate to human. This review will focus on the contributions made to a better understanding of heart development through studying avian embryos – mainly the chicken but also quail embryos. We will illustrate the classic and recent approaches used in the avian system, give an overview of the important discoveries made and summarize the early stages of cardiac development up to the establishment of the four chambered heart.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology
Subtitle of host publicationHeart Development and Disease
PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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