During development, skeletal muscles are established in a highly organized manner, which persists throughout life. Molecular and genetic experiments over the last decades have identified many developmental control genes critical for skeletal muscle formation. Developmental studies have shown that skeletal muscles of the body, limb and head have distinct embryonic and cellular origin, and the genetic regulation at work in these domains and during adult myogenesis are starting to be identified. In this review we will summarize the current knowledge on the regulatory circuits that lead to the establishment of skeletal muscle in these different anatomical regions.
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