The Francis Crick Institute
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Enteric nervous system development in avian and zebrafish models

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-08-18, 11:36 authored by Tiffany A Heanue, Iain T Shepherd, Alan J Burns
Our current understanding of the developmental biology of the enteric nervous system (ENS) and the genesis of ENS diseases is founded almost entirely on studies using model systems. Although genetic studies in the mouse have been at the forefront of this field over the last 20 years or so, historically it was the easy accessibility of the chick embryo for experimental manipulations that allowed the first descriptions of the neural crest origins of the ENS in the 1950s. More recently, studies in the chick and other non-mammalian model systems, notably zebrafish, have continued to advance our understanding of the basic biology of ENS development, with each animal model providing unique experimental advantages. Here we review the basic biology of ENS development in chick and zebrafish, highlighting conserved and unique features, and emphasising novel contributions to our general understanding of ENS development due to technical or biological features.