Ascidian embryogenesis and the origins of the chordate body plan

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1998 Aug;8(4):457-63. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(98)80118-4.


For more than a century, ascidians have been a widely used system for classic embryological studies. Ascidians possess simple, well-defined cell-lineages, compact genomes, rapid development and world-wide distribution. Transgenic DNA can be introduced into developing embryos using simple electroporation methods. The ascidian larva represents the most simplified chordate body plan and provides a useful model for studying the molecular pathways underlying the morphogenesis and differentiation of the notochord and neural tube.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chordata, Nonvertebrate
  • Muscles
  • Notochord
  • Urochordata / embryology*