Germ layer

A germ layer is a primary layer of cells that forms during embryonic development.[1] The three germ layers in vertebrates are particularly pronounced; however, all eumetazoans (animals more complex than the sponge) produce two or three primary germ layers. Some animals, like cnidarians, produce two germ layers (the ectoderm and endoderm) making them diploblastic. Other animals such as chordates produce a third layer (the mesoderm) between these two layers, making them triploblastic. Germ layers eventually give rise to all of an animal’s tissues and organs through the process of organogenesis.


Cleavage and division of the cell of an egg of a vertebrate (Remak, 1855).

Caspar Friedrich Wolff observed organization of the early embryo in leaf-like layers. In 1817, Heinz Christian Pander discovered three primordial germ layers while studying chick embryos. Between 1850 and 1855, Robert Remak had further refined the germ cell layer (Keimblatt) concept, stating that the external, internal and middle layers form respectively the epidermis, the gut, and the intervening musculature and vasculature.[2][3][4] The term "mesoderm" was introduced into English by Huxley in 1871, and "ectoderm" and "endoderm" by Lankester in 1873.

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