The Notochord : Development, Evolution and contributions to the vertebral column book cover
1st Edition

The Notochord
Development, Evolution and contributions to the vertebral column

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after January 5, 2022
ISBN 9781498787918
January 5, 2022 Forthcoming by CRC Press
264 Pages 34 Color & 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Although it is the defining organ of Chordates, the notochord is perhaps the least understood of vertebrate organs because it is usually considered a transient structure only present in early embryonic development. Most tetrapods replace the notochord with cartilaginous or bony vertebral bodies and remnants of the notochord persist as intra- or intervertebral spaces and intervertebral discs. The presence of cartilage in the notochord of some tetrapods raises further important questions on the evolutionary relationships between notochordal cells and cartilage cells. This book explores these patterns of relationships between the notochord and vertebral axial chondrogenesis.

Table of Contents

Ch1 - Introduction to the Notochord and to Notochord Cells

Ch2 - Discovery and Evolutionary Origin of the Notochord

Ch3 - Germ-layer Origin of the Notochord: Endoderm or Mesoderm

Ch4 - Function of the Notochord in Early Embryonic Development

Ch5 - Notochord Cells and Notochord Sheath Formation

Ch6 - The Role of the Notochord in Vertebral Body Development

Ch7 - The Notochord in Adult Vertebrates

Ch8 - Relationships between Notochord and Chondrogenic Cells and Tissues: Transformational Series

Ch9 -The Notochord and Hypotheses about the Evolution of the Vertebral Column


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Paul Eckhard Witten is Assistant Professor in the Departmenbt of Biology at Ghent University in Brussels. His research focuses on development, plasticity, and remodeling of skeletal tissues; in particular bone, cartilage and teeth of teleost fish. Processes are analyzed in a comparative developmental and evolutionary context. Brian Keith Hall FRSC (born, 1941) is the George S. Campbell Professor of Biology and University Research Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Professor Hall has researched and extensively written on bone and cartilage formation in developing vertebrate embryos. He is an active participant in the evolutionary developmental biology (EVO-DEVO) debate on the nature and mechanisms of animal body plan formation. Professor Hall has proposed that the neural crest tissue of vertebrates may be viewed as a fourth embryonic germ layer. As such, the neural crest - in Hall's view - plays a role equivalent to that of the endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm of bilaterian development and is a definitive feature of vertebrates (as hypothesized by Gans and Northcutt[1983]). As such, vertebrates are the only quadroblastic, rather than triploblastic bilaterian animals. In vertebrates the neural crest serves to integrate the somatic division (derived from ectoderm and mesoderm) and visceral division (derived from endoderm and mesoderm) together via a wide range novel vertebrate tissues (bone, cartilage, sympathetic nervous system, etc...). He has been associated with Dalhousie University since 1968. Since his retirement in 2007, he has been University Research Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Professor of Biology. (this taken from ).