endoderm

endoderm (ĕnˈdədûrmˌ) [key], in biology, inner layer of tissue formed in the gastrula stage of the developing embryo. At the end of the blastula stage, cells of the embryo are arranged in the form of a hollow ball. Cell movement results in an invagination of the bottom region, or vegetal hemisphere, of the embryo so that it resembles a double-walled cup. The inner layer of the cup is the endoderm; the outer layer is the ectoderm; a middle layer, the mesoderm, forms from a marginal zone. The endoderm is the germ layer from which are formed the digestive system, many glands, and part of the respiratory system. See embryo.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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